Can’t Say No to Tommy Sowers’ Dog

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tommy sowers dog twn.jpg
I really like Tommy Sowers — and while I normally don’t post appeals to support this Congressman or that, I couldn’t help it in this case.
Sowers, a former Special Forces officer who did deployments in Kosovo and Iraq, was also a new media and politics instructor at West Point. He’s now running for Congress as a Democrat in Missouri’s 8th District.
Some people have a soft spot for candidates and babies. I have a soft spot for dogs — and candidates who are smart policy thinkers.
I think Sowers would be good in Congress.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

52 comments on “Can’t Say No to Tommy Sowers’ Dog

  1. WigWag says:

    “WigWag what astonishes me is that you continue your always polite discussion…” (Kotzabasis)
    What can I say, kotzabasis; I guess I’m just astonishing!
    Nice to hear your voice by the way.

    Reply

  2. kotzabasis says:

    WigWag
    What astonishes me is that you continue your always polite discussion with sloppy thinkers of the type of Norheim and Kervick on SERIOUS matters. When they are cornered by unassailable arguments, like yours or anyone else’s, their hackneyed tactic is to demonize them by associating them either to the neocons or to the Israeli lobby and its “US collaborators.” And Norheim’s switch from the presumably serious to the comical merely covers how insecure he feels about his argument.

    Reply

  3. WigWag says:

    It was normal, Paul.
    WigWag

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Tell me, WigWag, was my last post OK in this regard – or was that
    one messy too?

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    Yes, I understand this completely. I noticed the same. I am writing them on a Mac – not new,
    but I did a clean install of a new Operative System some days ago, so it works as a new
    machine. I noticed that the sentences were in a mess as soon as I zoomed in to enlarge the text.
    It is perhaps related to me copying them due to captcha and some trouble with Safari.
    I may write a version in Firefox tomorrow, or use a Windows PC. We’ll see.

    Reply

  6. WigWag says:

    I apologize, Paul. I am always interested in reading all of your comments because they are invariably clever and interesting. But you must be using a new computer because the format on those comments of yours came out funny. My eyes are quite bad and with the unusual format that they appeared, they are quite difficult for me to read.
    I did try to go through them but I am afraid it would take me an hour to read each one. With the strange number of words on each line they literally appear as a blur to me.
    I hope you understand that I intended no disrespect by not reading them.
    Thanks for your understanding.

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    Take a look upthread: I wrote 4 comments in a row, three related to the Leverett’s.
    That’s where you’ll find the more serious stuff.

    Reply

  8. WigWag says:

    “Feith-based,” instead of “faith based.”
    Now I get it Paul. Sorry for misinterpreting you. I really am dimwitted sometimes.

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    “Got it, Paul, you think that all of the factual information presented in the Tablet Magazine article is negated by the fact that
    the author (Lee Smith) has an affiliation with a think tank that Feith is also a member of. (…) the Leveretts take a more
    substantive approach to all of this than you do. They have not been deterred from providing a response to Lee Smith by the
    fact that he may have friends or business associates that they disagree with.”
    WigWag, perhaps you didn’t notice my three long comments somewhere above the small (joking) one you referred to?

    Reply

  10. WigWag says:

    Got it, Paul, you think that all of the factual information presented in the Tablet Magazine article is negated by the fact that the author (Lee Smith) has an affiliation with a think tank that Feith is also a member of.
    By your logic, everyone who thinks Flynt Leverett’s grand bargain theory is wrong should dismiss everything written in the Washington Note because Steve Clemons is affiliated with a Think Tank that Flynt Leverett is a member of.
    You are advocating sloppy thinking. Either Lee Smith’s assertions are right or they are wrong or they are partially right or wrong. Whatever hypothetical relationship Lee Smith does or does not have with Mr. Feith is irrelevant.
    By the way, the Leveretts take a more substantive approach to all of this than you do. They have not been deterred from providing a response to Lee Smith by the fact that he may have friends or business associates that they disagree with. In fact, the Leveretts have responded to the Lee Smith article twice; once directly and the second time they provided clarification based on a comment I wrote on their blog.
    Here’s the link if you haven’t seen their responses,
    http://www.raceforiran.com/explaining-the-concept-of-%e2%80%9clies%e2%80%9d-to-jeffrey-goldberg-and-lee-smith#comment-4821
    One question that the Leveretts haven’t confronted is why none of their allies in the State Department (with the possible exception of Lawrence Wilkerson) back up their contention that (1) the Iranians genuinely offered a “grand bargain” and (2) the neoconservatives led by Cheney’s office are responsible for turning it down.
    Richard Armitage has specifically refuted Flynt Leverett’s assertions about this. Their friend Richard Haass has been noticeably silent. Obviously we have not heard from former Secretary of State Powell and we have conflicting remarks from the voluble Lawrence Wilkerson.
    The Leveretts say that Ryan Crocker and William Burns were distracted at the time and that’s why they didn’t push the Bush Administration to act on the fax from the Swiss Ambassador. But if what was viewed as an exciting offer from the Iranians had really been made, it is hard to believe that it wouldn’t have come to their attention. Certainly Crocker and Burns are now aware of the Leveretts theories on all of this; neither of them has done anything to support the Leveretts assertions either.
    One person who could clear some of this up is the loquacious Lawrence Wilkerson. He despises the neoconservatives so he, unlike the others should be motivated to talk. Wilkerson no longer speaks for Secretary Powell, but it is possible that he knows a good deal more about what happened in 2003 than he has told us.
    Wilkerson regularly does guest posts at “The Washington Note.” In fact, Wilkerson has done three guests posts here since October. Why doesn’t Steve Clemons, who is a friend of the Leveretts but is objective on all of this, interview Lawrence Wilkerson and get the full story to the extent that Wilkerson knows it? Another possibility is that Wilkerson could be invited to do a guest post on the subject.
    Because he dislikes the neoconservatives so intensely, anything Wilkerson says has to be taken with a grain of salt. But maybe he knows the real story about all of this. He could back-up the Leveretts assertions or he could destroy them (or maybe he just doesn’t know all the details).
    The question is, did Secretary of State Powell really try to convince the White House (or the Vice President’s office) that a grand bargain from Iran was on offer, that the offer was bona fide, and that the United States should follow-up?
    Come on Mr. Wilkerson. What did you know and when did you know it?

    Reply

  11. Dan Kervick says:

    This question might seem a little bit off-topic, but why have the Israelis and their US collaborators suddenly panicked and launched this series of vindictive, rambling, irrelevant and unpersuasive personal attacks? I was under the impression that the Israelis had effectively “won” their political battles of the past year, and were now sitting pretty with the US administration. Why screw it up with these crude, broad-brush and ad hominem smears, which can only succeed in building new resentments of Israel and its methods, and attracting new enemies?
    Perhaps I haven’t been paying enough attention, but did something happen recently to change the political dynamic? Is it the apparent petering out of the “green movement”? What gives?

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    From WigWag’s attack against the Leverett’s at the Race For Iran site (linked to above):
    “Unless they can offer a more convincing response to the allegations in the Tablet Magazine article, there is simply no way
    that a reasonable person can conclude that they are anything other than dissemblers.”
    The biggest problem is not the responses by the Leverett’s, but the credibility of the source of these allegations: they all seem
    to be Feith-based.

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “To be fair to the Leveretts….”
    Too late, Wiggie, you’ve already buried any pretense at “fairness” or objectivity with your prior comments.

    Reply

  14. Neo Controll says:

    On Wig Wag’s attempt to discredit and ridicule the Leverett’s, based on the story by one Lee Smith, it is useful to at least appreciate the context for this Smith/WigWag smear, premised on the putatively credible reporting of this one Lee Smith. As Leverett himself notes:
    “The Tablet does not disclose that Mr. Smith is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, where his colleagues include Doug Feith—the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who, in the run up to the Iraq war, peddled false (indeed, fabricated) information about an alleged but nonexistent relationship between Saddam Husayn and Al-Qa’ida—and Norman Podhoretz, one of the founding fathers of the “Bomb Iran” movement.)”
    Doug Feith? Now after we all visit the vomitorium, shall we ask, Wig Wag, whether you have any further crap to hurl. Or do you simply defer to the the majestic report by the “Tablet”?
    — NCHQ

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    To be fair to the Leveretts, they have posted a response to my critique of their rebuttal to the Lee Smith article.
    It can be found here,
    http://www.raceforiran.com/explaining-the-concept-of-%e2%80%9clies%e2%80%9d-to-jeffrey-goldberg-and-lee-smith

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett have posted their rebuttal to the Tablet Magazine article by Lee Smith and while they do make a few good points, their rebuttal is frankly pathetic if their goal is to resurrect their credibility with objective observers.
    It’s really remarkable that this is the best defense that Leverett and Mann Leverett could muster. On a few items they are convincing. Perhaps Leverett wasn’t fired on orders from Secretary Rice. After all, anyone who has been fired from a relatively senior position knows how these things tend to work; rather than firing an incompetent staff member outright, the staff member is given the opportunity to find another position as soon as possible and then resign of their own volition. It is entirely possible that Lee Smith is wrong and that Leverett wasn’t technically fired; just encouraged to find another job and resign quickly thereafter.
    On the Marandi question, the response is even weaker. Their diatribe about the senior Mirandi being a specialist in neonatology means nothing. Either Marandi senior is the personal physician to the Supreme Leader or he is not. Lee Smith is right or he is wrong; which is it?
    In terms of Flynt Leverett’s collaborator, the junior Mirandi, who is attempting to get Leverett a visa (mostly unavailable to other American scholars and academics), has he been a spokesperson for the regime or hasn’t he? The answer appears to be that he has been. Has he defended the regime’s crackdown on the Green Movement? The answer appears to be yes.
    The Leveretts claim that they have no knowledge about Mirandi being intelligence operative; I see no reason not to take their word on that. But Lee Smith didn’t try to deceive anyone about his evidence (such as it is); he quoted an Iranian ex pat, who happens to be a Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, who claims that Mirandi is an intelligence operative. Believe him; don’t believe him; do which ever you prefer. Naturally, those who support the Leveretts’ thesis will tend to disbelieve the suggestion that Mirandi is a spy. Those who find the Leveretts’ position deplorable will tend to believe that Mirandi is a spy. Of course, none of this provides real evidence one way or the other.
    What is shocking is how weak the Leveretts defense is when they try to refute Lee Smith’s most damning accusations: (1) that the Leveretts were not telling the truth that the neoconservatives in the Bush Administration shot down the supposed grand bargain offered by the Iranians; (2) that the Leveretts, or the Swiss Ambassador or the Leveretts and the Swiss Ambassador together, fabricated all or part of the putative Iranian grand bargain offer.
    In their rebuttal, the Leveretts say,
    “It is not true that, as Mr. Smith alleges, the Iranian document was shot down by our purported “allies”, Secretary Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage, and not by neoconservatives. Powell’s own Chief of Staff at the time, Larry Wilkerson, told the BBC that Powell and others at the State Department thought “it was a very propitious moment” to respond to the Iranian offer. “But as soon as it got to the White House and as soon as it got to the Vice-President’s office, the old mantra of ‘We don’t talk to evil’… reasserted itself.”
    But here is a recitation of what the Leveretts putative allies actually said:
    Richard Armitaage:
    “I’ve seen Flynt Leverett…argue that this was a missed opportunity. But I must say that speaking for me and most of my colleagues at the State Department, we didn’t see it that way, and I don’t think many others did at the time because it didn’t fit with some of the other things… that we’d been hearing from Iran….If there had been a desire on the Iranian side to seek a better relationship, it would have been an ideal time…to send that signal, and we got no such signal to my knowledge. I remember talking with people from our Near East division about a fax that came in from the Swiss ambassador, and I think our general feeling was that he had perhaps added a little bit to it because it wasn’t in consonance with the state of our relations…The Swiss ambassador in Tehran was so intent … on bettering relations between …the United States, and Iran that we came to have some questions about where the Iranian message ended and the Swiss message may begin…And we had had some discussions, …particularly through intelligence channels with high-ranking Iranian intelligence people, and nothing that we were seeing in this fax was in consonance with what we were hearing face to face. So we didn’t give it much weight.”
    Colin Powell spokesperson Tom Casey,
    “This document did not come through official channels but rather was a creative exercise on the part of the Swiss ambassador. The last 30 years are filled with examples of individuals claiming to represent Iranian views.”
    Larry Wilkerson as told to Patrick Clawson,
    Clawson: “In other words, the State Department professionals who knew Iran best were not happy with it?” Wilkerson: “Yes.”
    Unless the Leveretts can find a way to make these statements from those who agreed with them about Iran disappear, a reasonable person has no choice but to conclude that the Leveretts’ conclusion, that it was the neoconservatives who killed the grand bargain instead of their allies, is false.
    The Leveretts may be right that a physical document, purportedly from the Iranians existed; though I doubt that many people have understood over these past many months that their only evidence that the Iranians ever offered a grand bargain was limited to a single fax coming from the Swiss Ambassador.
    What is really shocking and revealing is that the Leveretts make no attempt in their rebuttal to shoot down the assertion that the content of the fax was an inauthentic representation of Iranian intentions; that it was largely authored by the Swiss Ambassador. I have no reason to disbelieve the Leveretts assertion that they had nothing to do with writing it, but many of the Leveretts’ Bush Administration allies believed that the offer in question was not authored primarily by the Iranians but was instead authored by Ambassador Guldimann.
    The quote from Richard Armitage mentioned above proves beyond any reasonable doubt that he believed that the Swiss Ambassador exaggerated Iranian intentions; Remember, Armitage said,
    “The Swiss ambassador in Tehran was so intent … on bettering relations between the United States and Iran that we came to have some questions about where the Iranian message ended and the Swiss message may begin…”
    The quote from Lawrence Wilkerson above demonstrates that he and Colin Powell disbelieved the assertion that it was the Iranians as opposed to the Ambassador who authored the ideas in question.
    And the quote from Powell’s spokesperson, Tom Casey, (that must have been approved by either Powell or a senior official working for Powell), suggests that Powell felt that this was not a bona fide offer from the Iranians. To reiterate, what Casey said, he indicated that the supposed proposal represented a “creative exercise on the part of the Swiss ambassador.”
    The fact that Leveretts make no attempt to respond to these assertions from their putative allies contradicting everything the Leveretts say about the “grand bargain” is devastating to their argument and devastating to their credibility.
    They have failed to even attempt to rebut the most serious accusation against them; that their insistence that a “grand bargain was offered by the Iranians in 2003 is false.
    Unless they can offer a more convincing response to the allegations in the Tablet Magazine article, there is simply no way that a reasonable person can conclude that they are anything other than dissemblers.
    While there may be a small cadre of people desperate to believe the Leveretts because they find the strategy the Leveretts suggest so appealing; the rest of the world will be asking, “If Iran never offered a “grand bargain” in the first place, why should anyone think that they would entertain one now.
    So far, it’s Lee Smith 1; Hillary Mann Leverett and Flynt Leverett 0
    ps: Andrew Sullivan, who is engaged in a little controversy of his own right now has rendered his verdict about the Leveretts on the “Daily Dish.” In one of his posts today, he called them “callous.”
    But the good news for the Leveretts is that the accusations of anti-Semitism directed towards Sullivan by Leon Wieseltier seemed to have mellowed Andrew. After all, “callous” is about the nicest thing that Sullivan has ever said about the Leveretts. In the past his comments have been somewhat more vitriolic. After all less than a year ago Andrew referred to Flynt as “Ahmadinejad’s Useful Idiot.”

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Wigwag, Lee Smith’s article was very interesting, and helps explain why Leverett makes such astonishing claims as “…President Ahmadinejad certainly could have commanded the support of the majority of the Iranian electorate in his re-election bid and that no hard and credible evidence of election fraud that would have fundamentally changed the outcome had been presented. ” http://www.raceforiran.com/misreading-iranian-politics-in-washington
    In that case, what drove a million Iranians into the streets of Tehran to protest the stolen election? Is Leverett trying to tell us that Ahmedinejad was stupid enough to steal an election he had actually won? Say what? Leverett may be correct in his assessment that the Green Movement isn’t strong enough to overthrow the government (though the Iranian government is not acting confident of that, the way they keep shutting down all communications). Time will tell. But for now I share the reaction of Leverett’s Iranian listeners.

    Reply

  18. Mr.Murder says:

    “If Trita Parsi alerted Rove, this suggests that it was known beyond Powell, Armitage, and the State Department at the time.”
    Maybe Rove need appear before Congress on this matter. Was he cleared to see ANY of this? He was not cleared to see Plame’s identity and did so anyways, only to be retroactively promoted to a position of clearance, then again de-classified, in efforts to stymie the procedure for prosecuting him while Dubya was in office.

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    I think you should think twice before claiming, or spreading rumors that the Leverett’s have been intentionally lying on this
    issue. I know you yourself are fond of the idiom “throwing stones from a glass house”.
    Again: here is WigWag:
    “Lawrence Wilkerson (…) has said that Leverett is wrong. (…)
    “Wilkerson and Armitage have claimed that it was them and not the neocons as Leverett alleged, who rejected the
    authenticity of the putative Iranian offer.”
    ———————————————–
    And here is from an Asian Times Online article – from 2006:
    Middle East
    Mar 30, 2006
    Neo-con cabal blocked 2003 nuclear talks
    By Gareth Porter
    WASHINGTON – The George W Bush administration failed to enter into negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program in May
    2003 because neo-conservatives who advocated destabilization and regime change were able to block any serious diplomatic
    engagement with Tehran, according to former administration officials.
    The same neo-conservative veto power also prevented the administration from adopting any official policy statement on Iran,
    those same officials said.
    Lawrence Wilkerson, then chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell, said the failure to adopt a formal Iran policy in
    2002-03 was the result of obstruction by a “secret cabal” of neo-conservatives in the administration, led by Vice President
    Dick Cheney.
    “The secret cabal got what it wanted: no negotiations with Tehran,” Wilkerson wrote in an e-mail to Inter Press Service (IPS).
    The Iranian negotiating offer, transmitted to the State Department in early May 2003 by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran,
    acknowledged that Iran would have to address US concerns about its nuclear program, although it made no specific
    concession in advance of the talks, according to Flynt Leverett, then the National Security Council’s senior director for Middle
    East Affairs.
    (…)
    Exactly how the decision was made is not known. “As with many of these issues of national security decision-making, there
    are no fingerprints,” Wilkerson told IPS. “But I would guess Dick Cheney with the blessing of George W Bush.”
    As Wilkerson observes, however, the mysterious death of what became known among Iran specialists as Iran’s “grand bargain”
    initiative was a result of the administration’s inability to agree on a policy toward Tehran.
    A draft National Security Policy Directive (NSPD) on Iran calling for diplomatic engagement had been in the process of
    interagency coordination for more than a year, according to a source who asked to remain unidentified.
    But it was impossible to get formal agreement on the NSPD, the source recalled, because officials in Cheney’s office and in
    under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith’s Office of Special Plans wanted a policy of regime change and kept trying
    to amend it.
    Opponents of the neo-conservative policy line blame Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, for the failure of
    the administration to override the extremists in the administration. The statutory policymaker process on Iran, Wilkerson told
    IPS in an e-mail, was “managed by a national security adviser incapable of standing up to the cabal …”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HC30Ak01.html
    I am not saying that WigWag is lying. But her claims (and those of the American Thinker, that W. quotes above) regarding
    Wilkersons position run against the evidence I’ve seen so far. Of course, this further undermines WigWag’s credibility, when
    she suggests that the Leverett’s might be lying.
    The only thing that is crystal clear, is that WigWag (as well as publications like the Tablet, The Weekly Standard, the American
    Thinker etc) wants to discredit the Grand Bargain, as it goes against the confrontational line against Iran that she think serves
    Israel’s interests in the region. Thus she tirelessly tries to undermine the credibility of prominent supporters of a less
    confrontational line – like the Leverett’s, and Stephen Walt.

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag said:
    “Lawrence Wilkerson provides guest posts on this blog all the time (…). He has said that Leverett is wrong. (…)
    Moreover, Wilkerson and Armitage have claimed that it was them and not the neocons as Leverett alleged, who rejected the
    authenticity of the putative Iranian offer.”
    ———————————————-
    In the Tablet article, there is a link to an article by Michael Rubin at the Middle East Forum, dismissing the Grand Bargain – “not
    an Iranian overture but the work of a disgruntled Swiss diplomat, Tim Guldimann.”
    Here is a Rubin quote that contradicts WigWag’s claimes quoted above:
    “The facts notwithstanding, a coterie of former officials and lobbyists have seized upon the Guldimann memo. Flynt Leverett, a
    Condoleezza Rice appointee who left the National Security Council to campaign for John Kerry in 2004, has compared it to Mao
    Zedong’s 1972 opening of China. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff, affirmed the Iranian offer to credulous
    journalists. Iran lobbyist Trita Parsi, a former aide to disgraced congressman Bob Ney, insists he alerted White House political
    strategist Karl Rove to the Iranian proposal.”
    Now, who is lying, or misinterpreting, or distorting the truth here? Clearly Rubin says that Wilson “affirmed” the Iranian offer in
    interviews, while WigWag claims that Wilkerson was among those who “rejected the authenticity” of the Iranian offer.
    To me, it looks like Wilkerson actually found the offer credible, while his boss Powell and deputy Armitage had serious doubts.
    If Trita Parsi alerted Rove, this suggests that it was known beyond Powell, Armitage, and the State Department at the time.

    Reply

  21. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    in my view, there are two serious allegations against the Leveretts in the above mentioned article.
    Here is your attempt to sum up these allegations from a comment above on this thread:
    “7)Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann-Leverett are lying when they suggest that neoconservatives in the Bush Administration
    turned down a putative Iranian offer, delivered through the Swiss Government, to refrain from supporting terrorism, terminate
    its nuclear program and recognize Israel if the Bush Administration gave up on regime change. It wasn’t the neoconservatives at
    all; it was Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, both Flynt Leverett allies, who doubted the provenance of the deal and turned it
    down.”
    MY COMMENT: Intentionally lying – or interpreting? There may have been some neocon’s involved as well, who now can’t or
    don’t want to remember it for obvious reasons. So the truth may be less clear-cut than both versions – without anybody
    actually lying.
    “8) There is evidence that Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are lying that Iran ever proposed a deal at all; many believe it
    was either a concoction of the Swiss ambassador or of the Swiss ambassador and the Leveretts together.””
    MY COMMENT: This is of course the most serious allegation, and probably very difficult to verify. Interestingly, WigWag, even
    your version differs significantly from the version you linked to. Here is the Tablet version:
    “As a former colleague on the NSC staff recalls, “this historical document arrives and Condi Rice and Stephen Hadley don’t
    remember it, and only Flynt does. It was either a concoction of the Swiss ambassador, or of the Swiss ambassador and the
    Leveretts together.””
    You said “there is evidence”, and “many believe it was either….” – but in the Tablet version, this “evidence” boils down to one
    anonymous source, a former colleague on the NSC staff merely speculating about the role of the Leverett’s.
    Now, does this mean that you, WigWag, were intentionally lying, when you changed one former colleague’s speculation into
    “evidence” believed by “many” regarding the Leverett’s participating in creating a false document?
    Personally, I doubt it – because you provided a link, so that we could verify it. I think some involuntary misinterpretation and
    bias were at play here, and the same is fully possible regarding the Leverett’s own claim that the Grand Bargain was rejected by
    the neocons. Errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum
    My conclusion is that the serious allegations in the Tablet article are nothing more than mere speculation – and not convincing
    evidence, as you want us to believe.

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes WigWag,
    as it was correctly stated in the link you provided: “Last week Dagbladet published a story about a link from the PST (Norwegian
    Security Service) Facebook page to a cartoon of Mohammed, which portrayed Mohammed as a pig writing in the Koran.”
    Some taxi drivers demonstrated some days ago; yesterday there was another demonstration, and right now there is yet another
    one going on, very peacefully.
    I wouldn’t say that one newspaper publishing the cartoon is evidence of “hatred of Muslims”, as you suggested. A more subtle
    point is that the one who informed the tabloid “Dagbladet” about the link from the PST Facebook Page, was a rather militant
    Islamist. And he was among the organizers of yesterday’s demonstration. Some have claimed that “Dagbladet” has allowed itself
    to be a useful idiot for this extremist: that he wished that they would publish the cartoon with the aim of polarizing the society
    on this issue. As I said, the demonstrations have been peaceful, but this stuff could easily get out of hand at a later stage –
    perhaps in another Muslim country.
    Re. Galbraith: I remember this particularly well because a Norwegian company was involved in the affair, and it was investigated
    by Norwegian journalists. Stephen Walt and others (even New York Times) wrote about it, But I’m quite sure Steve didn’t.
    “As you can undoubtedly tell, my mind isn’t as sharp as it once was and I just forgot.”
    Don’t worry, WigWag. Your memory is excellent. I think most of the time you still remember exactly what you want to remember!

    Reply

  23. WigWag says:

    Your comment is feeble minded JohnH.
    I’ve provided evidence, including quotes from the relevant parties that tend to suggest that the Leveretts are either mistaken or deliberately deceptive.
    I am sure that there is evidence that suggests otherwise.
    If you have that evidence; produce it. If you think my argument is mistaken; provide a thoughtful response.
    If you can’t do it, then your remarks are little more than rants.

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    “Anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over U.S. Middle East policy stands a good chance of getting labeled an anti-Semite. In fact, anyone who says that there is an Israel lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism, even though AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents are hardly bashful about describing their influence. … In effect, the lobby both boasts of its own power and frequently attacks those who call attention to it.” –Mearsheimer and Walt
    They could have added that “anyone who criticizes or opposes the Israeli agenda will be the target of smears and innuendo.”
    This should be obvious to everyone by now: when you read what Wigwag posts, you should bear this in mind.

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    As Wigwag says, very revealing. But I at least looked at Tablet to see what the content was and who the contributors were. Bottom line: I had some facts to judge the magazine.
    But Wigwag wasn’t even willing to go that far before she joined the smear against Marandi.
    Here’s a very interesting interview with him. He seems far from the devil incarnate, like the Likud/Kadima faction would have you believe.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/02/marandi-takes-on-the-media.html

    Reply

  26. WigWag says:

    The allegations that Lee Smith makes in his article are not new. In fact, there is substantial documentary evidence that Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann-Leverett either lied or stretched the truth when they claimed that Iran had offered a grand bargain that would have them stop aiding terrorists, stop work on nuclear weapons and recognize Israel if only the Bush Administration would eschew regime change in Iran.
    Much of this was debated years ago, but Smith is providing a service by reminding people that the Leveretts may be (and I emphasize may be) dissembling.
    Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, both consistent advocates of a diplomatic approach to Iran, have each said on the record that that the State Department under Powell’s leadership never believed there was an “offer” from Iran in 2003. They also claim that the Leveretts suggestion that Iran had approved the text that supposedly came from the Swiss Ambassador is false.
    Lawrence Wilkerson provides guest posts on this blog all the time; many readers of the Washington Note like him because he regularly excoriates the Bush Administration. He has said that Leverett is wrong. Maybe Steve Clemons would like to invite Wilkerson to do a guest post on whether he believes that Iran ever offered a grand bargain to the Bush Administration. Maybe Wilkerson has already done a Washington Note post on the subject that Steve would like to refresh our recollections about.
    Moreover, Wilkerson and Armitage have claimed that it was them and not the neocons as Leverett alleged, who rejected the authenticity of the putative Iranian offer.
    Apparently Richard Haass, the best man at the Leverett wedding himself doubted the authenticity of the Iranian proposal.
    This is what Colin Powell’s spokesman Tom Casey told the Washington Post,
    “This document did not come through official channels but rather was a creative exercise on the part of the Swiss ambassador. The last 30 years are filled with examples of individuals claiming to represent Iranian views.”
    Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Newsweek,
    “We couldn’t determine what [in the proposal] was the Iranians’ and what was the Swiss ambassador’s.”
    Lawrence Wilkerson was asked by Patrick Clawson,
    “In other words, the State Department professionals who knew Iran best were not happy with it?”
    Wilkerson responded, “Yes.”
    Richard Armitage, a patron of Flynt Leverett told Frontline that he and Powell had been “very interested” in an opening to Iran, but neither of them thought that the message they received in May 2003 was a “serious endeavor…I’ve seen Flynt Leverett…argue that this was a missed opportunity. But I must say that speaking for me and most of my colleagues at the State Department, we didn’t see it that way, and I don’t think many others did at the time because it didn’t fit with some of the other things… that we’d been hearing from Iran….If there had been a desire on the Iranian side to seek a better relationship, it would have been an ideal time…to send that signal, and we got no such signal to my knowledge. I remember talking with people from our Near East division about a fax that came in from the Swiss ambassador, and I think our general feeling was that he had perhaps added a little bit to it because it wasn’t in consonance with the state of our relations…The Swiss ambassador in Tehran was so intent … on bettering relations between …the United States, and Iran that we came to have some questions about where the Iranian message ended and the Swiss message may begin…And we had had some discussions, …particularly through intelligence channels with high-ranking Iranian intelligence people, and nothing that we were seeing in this fax was in consonance with what we were hearing face to face. So we didn’t give it much weight.”
    It’s important to remember that like his boss, Powell, Armitage was interested in an opening to Iran. Cheney wasn’t, Rumsfield wasn’t; Powell and Armitage were but they found the idea that Iran was seeking a grand bargain completely unconvincing.
    Whether Flynt Leverett or Hillary Mann Leverett were involved with Swiss Ambassador Guldmann in manufacturing an Iranian proposal that was either completely made up or significantly exaggerated is an open question.
    It does appear that at the very least that the claims by Leverett and Mann Leverett that the neoconservatives in the Bush Administration rejected the supposed overture from Iran is most likely false. It was the doves in the Bush Administration, including Flynt Leverett’s putative allies, Powell and Armitage who did that.
    By the way, Steve Clemons was quoted in the Lee Smith article. Presumably the interview took place during the recent debate between Flynt Leverett and Barbara Slavin but perhaps it occurred at another time. Interestingly, although many Washington Note readers found Slavin’s positions objectionable, she also published an article suggesting that Cheney and company were the ones responsible for rejecting the “Iranian overture.” In other words, the irony is that she agreed with the Leveretts on this one.
    Here’s what Clemons said in the Lee article,
    “Flynt has a good understanding of how that government works…He sees Khamenei as the guy that matters. What he believes is that Khamenei is a shrewd calculating operator who moves Iran’s strategic interest…I was pleased as punch that New America has been designated twice by the regime as an institution off-limits…”
    None of these allegations are new. They were made in an “American Thinker” article 15 months ago. The Leveretts have had plenty of time to figure out how to refute the allegations that they are being less than honest on what went down with the putative Iranian proposal.
    Here’s a link to the “American Thinker” article,
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/11/did_iran_offer_a_grand_bargain.html
    The article is footnoted and provides sources.
    Why does any of this matter? The Leveretts claim that a grand bargain with Iran is possible; they cite as evidence the fact that the Iranians proposed a grand bargain once before. If that claim is either mistaken or a deliberate lie, it makes the claim that the Iranians are interested in a grand bargain now considerably less credible.
    Note to Steve Clemons: Lawrence Wilkerson could clear some of this up. Why not ask him for a post or if that’s too much, invite him to submit a comment.

    Reply

  27. Mr.Murder says:

    “5) Leverett’s main Iranian collaborator, Mohamed Marandi of the University of Tehran works for the Ahmadinejad government as its key English language spokesperson. Marandi has supported the crackdown on the Green Movement; he has defended the death sentences handed out to dissidents and is the son of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s personal physician. Most ominously, Marandi, who has submitted Leverett’s visa request, is an operative with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. The article implies that Leverett knows all of this but doesn’t care.”
    Usually when someone tries to smear and bullshoot another’s standing, they pile it on really thick. This guy does EVERYTHING for them. He’s like the Curve Ball if the Information Ministry!
    Marandi is practically the Cheney of Iran! He calls all the shots!

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    Very interesting, JohnH. You know nothing about the publication, but you’ve decided that the slogan “a new read on Jewish Life” tells you all you need to know.
    Very revealing!

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    Yes, Wigwag, a hatchet job. You were passing along the smear, so you participated in it.
    All you need is to consider is the source–“a new read on Jewish life.” You don’t think they host articles that might advance the Likud/Kadima agenda, do you? Or that they might smear people that don’t toe the AIPAC line?
    I understand why Wigwag reads it…

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    Maybe Leverett is not that impressed by someones’ partisan report, all things being equal, in a partisan magazine?? Why respond?

    Reply

  31. WigWag says:

    To JohnH and Dan Kervick:
    Hatchet job, JohnH? I think my summary of the Lee Smith article is quite an accurate description of what he had to say. And in case you didn’t notice, I didn’t ask anyone to believe my summary; I linked to the article itself. I suggest people read the entire thing and form there own conclusions.
    Dan Kervick cites the more “gossipy” elements of Lee Smith’s argument without referencing the most damning charge that Smith makes. Smith calls Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett liars. Let me emphasize as I have before, that I have no idea whether this allegation is true or false, but I hope it’s false.
    What lies does Smith accuse the Leveretts of telling?
    Smith says that the Leveretts blame the neoconservatives for turning down the supposed grand bargain (relayed to the United States through the Swiss) when they knew perfectly well that it was Colin Powell and Richard Armitage who turned the deal down. Powell and Armitage were on Leverett’s side about the war in Iraq; the neoconservatives were not. Blaming the neoconservatives instead of his political allies is not only dishonest; it serves to shift the blame from where it really belongs; to the political allies of Leverett. To call this self-serving is an understatement.
    Smith also suggests that many believe that there was no “grand bargain” offered at all. He suggests that the Leveretts or the Leveretts in league with certain Swiss diplomats might have made the whole thing up.
    You may not think these charges are important, Dan, but if true, they not only call the facts the Leveretts present into question; it calls their entire thesis about a grand bargain into question.
    The Leveretts suggest that there is a grand bargain to be had and cite as evidence the fact that the Iranians offered one during the Bush Administration. If the Leveretts are lying about this; if there was really never a grand bargain proposed by the Iranians to the Bush Administration; it tends to suggest that their argument that a grand bargain is still available is a deliberate falsification.
    If true, these charges are scandalous. If true, they are far worse than what Peter Galbraith is accused of in the Kurdish affair.
    Making up deliberate lies to advance a thesis cannot be condoned.
    Hopefully none of it is true. The Leveretts are entitled to respond and I am sure that they will.
    Lee Smith could be way off base. If he’s not, the Leveretts have a serious problem.
    We will just have to wait and see how this all plays out.
    By the way, Dan, Lee Smith also suggests that Flynt Leverett collaborates with an undercover operative of the Iranian secret service. He implies, but to be fair does not explicitly say, that Leverett knows this.
    You may not find that troubling. My guess is that quite a large number of Americans would.

    Reply

  32. Dan Kervick says:

    The Leveretts will have to respond to the article themselves. But several of the supposedly “provocative” charges WigWag lists don’t seem terribly provocative: The Leveretts are conservative on domestic matters and have some neoconservative friends? Well known. Big whoop.
    And the Leveretts have “ties” to people in the Iranian regime, and have collaborated with conservative Iranian scholars who are loyal to the regime? Well, I should hope so! How else does one inquire an informed and balanced understanding of the Iranian system and its politics? The Leveretts also appear to have “ties” to staunch opponents of the Iranian regime. Diverse ties and sources of information = good. I would recommend that more Israelis and American Jews try to develop similar ties to politically incorrect elements of Middle Eastern societies. Then their views won’t be as crude and obstinately ideological as they are now.
    Leverett learned most of what he knows about Iran from his wife? Good for her and good for him. Scholars learn and grow throughout their lives, and develop new forms of expertise.
    I personally know several Israeli scholars through the (quite non-political) academic side of my life. I would happily collaborate with them. I have no idea what their politics are. For all I know I have nefarious ties with crazy settler groups. Should I cut myself off from Jewish scholars and the knowledge I can acquire from them because they might be bad news politically?

    Reply

  33. JohnH says:

    Ah, the usual impassioned hatchet job by Wigwag. Unfortunately, Wigwag didn’t check Leverett’s bio, which is VERY impressive.
    http://www.raceforiran{dot]com/authors/flynt-leverett-biography
    http://www.uscc[dot]gov/bios/2006bios/06_02_2_3bios/leverett_flynt.htm
    You don’t get a PhD from Princeton by being “disorganized, unable to complete assignments and inefficient.” My guess is that Condi saw the world differently from Flynt (surprise! surprise!) and had him canned.
    I’m just finishing his book on Bashir Asad, which is very informative.
    As to the charge that he had no expertise on Iran, it’s pretty clear he has over 15 years experience on the Middle East, which makes it pretty hard to not know a lot about Iran. Also, “Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years.” (Wikipedia)
    To look at the motivation behind smearing the Leveretts, you have only to look at the source:
    http://www.tabletmag[dot]com/about/

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    DonS,
    I disagree with the Leveretts, in some cases vociferously. While in my comments I criticize them substantively I always enjoy reading what they and Ben Katcher have to say and I enjoy reading their blog, “The Race for Iran.” I appreciate the fact that they let me say what I want in their comment section without censoring my comments which can be quite critical of their positions. One of the things I like about “The Race for Iran” is that it is always substantive and the posts are usually pretty smart.
    Some people like hanging out at blogs where they agree with what the posters write and the commenters say. I find that boring. I always enjoy interfacing with people I disagree with; I think you learn alot more that way.
    I have no desire to see Flynt Leverett or Hillary Mann Leverett proven to be liars or to be in league with an Iranian Intelligence Service.
    I hope that the allegations in the Tablet article are not true and that the Leveretts have a credible explanation for the allegations made there.
    Whether Tablet Magazine is Zionist or not doesn’t matter; if the allegations are true, they are true. If they are false, they are false.
    As I said, I hope they are false.
    Paul Norheim,
    Thanks for the correction about Steve Clemons and the Kurds. I guess the issue about Galbraith came up in the comment section not one of Steve’s posts. As you can undoubtedly tell, my mind isn’t as sharp as it once was and I just forgot. I do remember that the Galbraith issue was discussed widely in the on-line world.
    As long as I have your attention, what is happening in Norway? I read on some English language Scandanavan cites that Muslim taxi cab drivers in Oslo are on-strike and promising violence because of a cartoon that appeared in Norway depicting the Prophet as a pig writing the Koran.
    I don’t know if you’ve seen the cartoon. I found a link to it if you would like to see it.
    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2010/02/outrage-in-norway-over-mohammed-pig.html
    Hatred of Muslims seems to have reached Scandanavia and is not just limited to France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands any more.
    Given the tolerant and gentle nature of Norwegians, Danes and Swedes I am surprised to read about this.

    Reply

  35. DonS says:

    Wigwag, nice little summation of “The Tablet” piece. But I must say I got a bit of a chuckle when you refer to the ‘allegations’ against the Leveretts in the article and say, regarding whether they are true, ‘let’s hope they are not”. Since you take every opportunity to impugn the Leveretts I can only surmise your are being tongue in cheek or have had a recent brain transplant.
    By the way, this “Tablet” seems to be pretty Zionist heavy, no?

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    Commenters at TWN mentioned the Galbraith affair, but I don’t think Steve did.

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    The Lee Smith article eviscerating Flynt Leverett is interesting and makes a number of provocative claims:
    1) Leverett was fired from his job in the State Department on direct orders from Condi Rice who found him disorganized, unable to complete assignments and inefficient.
    2) While Leverett does not yet have a visa to go to Iran, he is well on the way to getting one because the Iranian regime considers him to be their stooge.
    3) While Leverett regularly excoriates neoconservatives, he and his wife are personally close to many of them including David Frum who is a frequent guest in Leverett’s northern Virginia home.
    4) On domestic matters, Leverett is highly conservative.
    5) Leverett’s main Iranian collaborator, Mohamed Marandi of the University of Tehran works for the Ahmadinejad government as its key English language spokesperson. Marandi has supported the crackdown on the Green Movement; he has defended the death sentences handed out to dissidents and is the son of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s personal physician. Most ominously, Marandi, who has submitted Leverett’s visa request, is an operative with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. The article implies that Leverett knows all of this but doesn’t care.
    6) Leverett never had any expertise on Iran but his wife did. Finding himself out of a job, Mann-Leverett schooled her husband on Iranian affairs and helped him pass himself as an Iran expert despite his lack of credentials.
    7)Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann-Leverett are lying when they suggest that neoconservatives in the Bush Administration turned down a putative Iranian offer, delivered through the Swiss Government, to refrain from supporting terrorism, terminate its nuclear program and recognize Israel if the Bush Administration gave up on regime change. It wasn’t the neoconservatives at all; it was Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, both Flynt Leverett allies, who doubted the provenance of the deal and turned it down.
    8) There is evidence that Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are lying that Iran ever proposed a deal at all; many believe it was either a concoction of the Swiss ambassador or of the Swiss ambassador and the Leveretts together.”
    The article is devastating to the Leveretts; that is unless they can successfully refute it. It suggests that they are liars and stooges of the Iranian intelligence services.
    Several months back, if my memory serves, the Washington Note and several other prominent bloggers wrote disparagingly of Peter Galbraith for writing about Iraq and the Kurds without disclosing that he had business dealings with the Kurds in the North of Iraq. If true, the allegations made in this article are far worse. Of course these allegations may not be true; let’s hope they are not.
    If they are, the Leverett’s credibility goes down the proverbial drain.

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    All these little ‘who shot John’ intrigues are interesting, but I’d really like a post on Obama inserting himself in the whole Khalid Sheikh Mohammad trial and, once again, revealing an administration in disarray and, IMO, leaning in all the wrong directions. Maybe it’s just another instance of a situation falling into ‘wrong advice from the wrong advisors’. In any case, Empptywheel has one take, on the diminishment of DOJ and mishandling of the national security portfolio:
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/02/12/obama-prepares-to-sacrifice-justice-and-national-security-for-political-expediency/

    Reply

  39. JohnH says:

    Steve’s idea is wonderful! Vote for candidates based on the quality of their dogs. The result couldn’t be worse than what we have now!

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    “But these little imbroglios have become so tiresomely predictable that nobody takes them seriously anymore.” (Dan Kervick)
    Well here’s a new little imbroglio that you might find entertaining, Dan. It seems that Lee Smith has “outed” Flynt Leverett for alleged ties with the most reactionary elements of the Iranian regime, especially the Revolutionary Guards.
    I’m sure that before long we will get a rebuttal from Leverett (or maybe Mann-Leverett will respond on behalf of her husband). Within a day or so the blogosphere will be filled with pundits picking sides (including Andrew Sullivan who seems to detest Flynt Leverett).
    If you’re interested, Dan, here’s the link.
    http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/25357/iran%e2%80%99s-man-in-washington/

    Reply

  41. John Waring says:

    Reading Sullivan’s response, I could see how much Wieseltier’s vile insult hurt him.
    Putting Andrew on the same moral plane as a denier of the Shoa, there is no excuse for this.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    “I’ll send him $100 if you do one of your really smart posts telling us what you think about the current imbroglio between Andrew Sullivan and Leon Wieseltier.”
    It turns out that nobody much cares what Leon Wieseltier thinks anymore, hence the yawns and minimal reaction. The whole thing looks like it might be nothing but an aging and fading man’s desperate publicity stunt.
    On the other hand, I noticed that some of the speakers at the Herzliya conference were pushing for Israel to mount (yet another) public relations campaign to improve its faltering global image. Now here comes Wieseltier on cue, throwing a big roundhouse punch at a prominent target, trying to provoke another “national conversation about antisemitism.”
    But these little imbroglios have become so tiresomely predictable that nobody takes them seriously anymore. The little circle keeps constricting. Pretty soon Wieseltier, Dershowitz, Foxman and a few others will be left with no one to throw bombs at but themselves. I don’t think $100 is enough to rouse Steve, or anyone else, from the boredom.
    Returning to the actual topic, I have to agree that Sowers seems almost comically disinclined to take a position on any actual issues. Even when you click on the “issues” link, you don’t get anything – just more patriotic fluff.
    Maybe voters in the Show Me State are pining for a candidate to show them a whole lotta nuthin’.

    Reply

  43. bud says:

    Sowers takes relatively few positions on anything. For example, he claims that the effort in Afghanistan is unconstitutional and that Congress should debate our tactics and strategy there, while taking no position himself. Congress sets broad goals, which it did via the War Powers Act resolution in 2001. His assertion that the pursuit of Al Quaeda is somehow unconstitutional is wrong on the law, and his assertion that Congress should debate tactics and strategy as opposed to broad goals shows a basic misunderstanding of the role of Congress.

    Reply

  44. Johnathan says:

    What does he stand for? His website is pathetically
    shallow. He seems to be running on his impressive
    resume, not on any policy or ideological platform.
    Is he trying to pull an Obama, get people interested
    in the person, but ignore the fact that he stands
    for nothing? Where do you stand Sowers? Are you a
    left wing liberal, a fiscal conservative, a
    social…. What are you?

    Reply

  45. SouthernMissouri says:

    Steve,
    Thanks so much for the speedy reply and thank you for
    recognizing Jo Ann’s good works.
    Will be emailing you soon about a post for Jo Ann. Jo Ann has been
    such an asset to our corner of the state.
    I can forgive your weakness for dogs, I have a boxer(Sadie) and a
    beagle(Sophie) at home!

    Reply

  46. Steve Clemons says:

    SouthernMissouri –
    Many thanks for the great counter post. Very cool and respectable — and yes, folks should check out Representative Jo Ann Emerson as well…
    Truth be told, Jo Ann Emerson has been terrific on a number of international affairs issues — and I will write a post about her work down the road. SouthernMissouri, you should probably contact me via email at some point if you are interested in contributing to that.
    I love dogs though….a weakness. 🙂
    all best, steve clemons

    Reply

  47. SouthernMissouri says:

    Sowers does have a nice dog, just wish he had a nice stance on the
    issues, or really any stance on an issue.
    Jo Ann Emerson is the current office holder Sowers is challenging.
    Jo Ann has a strong bipartisan record in the Congress and is
    almost universally respected in her district. In fact she got over
    70% of the vote in 2008!
    Give Jo Ann a look: http://www.joannemerson.com/
    Sowers does have a nice dog, and a pretty truck. Just wish he
    would talk about how he wants to “fight” for the 8th district of
    Missouri.

    Reply

  48. WigWag says:

    Of course, Steve, it’s just that your take on things is typically so much smarter than what’s available elsewhere. Although I rarely agree with you, I know that when you present your point of view it is well-reasoned, sober, fact-based and filled with integrity.
    I’ve read the Chait and Yglesias pieces; all I can say is yada, yada, yada.
    So much of the blogosphere is little more than a recapitulation of what’s available in the tabloid press. In fact, many of the most popular sites seem to deliberately mimic the tabloid press.
    The Washington Note is different. The recent posts in particular have been extremely lucid and smart.
    I’m sure I’m not your only fan who would like to know what you think (even though you’ve stated that Andrew Sullivan is your friend).
    Surely your point of view will be more nuanced than what is available elsewhere. I’m also sure that a post on the subject would result in a lively discussion in the comment section of your blog (maybe too lively).
    Thanks for thinking about it.

    Reply

  49. Steve Clemons says:

    Wig,
    Hmm…tempting offer. Yes, first of all — you are right. I never take bribes for posts, even on behalf of political stuff I believe in.
    Secondly, I might weigh in. The difficulty is that my real job is requiring a ton of time at the moment and to add anything of value to the Wieseltier-Sullivan feud (and yes, I find myself tilting towards Sullivan), I’d have to get deeply engrossed to go beyond what Jonathan Chait, Matthew Yglesias and some others have written.
    I’m not sure I’d do as smart a job as you would like — but I will give it some thought and consider. I just have to make some progress first on some other burning issues and obligations that I can’t duck.
    Hope you understand.
    all best, steve

    Reply

  50. WigWag says:

    I’ll make you a deal!
    I’ll send him $100 if you do one of your really smart posts telling us what you think about the current imbroglio between Andrew Sullivan and Leon Wieseltier. The punditocracy reaction to the whole thing has, as usual, been full of heat but lite on light.
    While I’m sure you’ll defend your friend I also know that your take will be more sophisticated than most.
    This controversy has everything; a mentor attacking his prodigal student; an internicine conflict in the pundit class; there’s even a potential sexual angle.
    Surely, you can’t let this go without sharing your views.
    But I know you don’t accept bribes for posts. Based on your recommendation, I know alot of your loyal readers will check Sowers out and consider a contribtion; I know I will.
    Cheers!

    Reply

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