Washington Post shifts leftward online

By BEN SMITH

The once-cautious Washington Post has begun to invest heavily in the liberal blogosphere, transforming its online presence – through a combination of accident and design – into a competitor of the Huffington Post and TalkingPointsMemo as much as the New York Times.

The Post’s foray into the new media world received some unfavorable attention last weekend when its latest hire, Dave Weigel, who covers conservatives, referred to gay marriage foes as “bigots.” But the resulting controversy brought into relief a larger shift: The Post now hosts three of the strongest liberal blogs on the Internet, and draws a disproportionate share of its traffic and buzz from them, a significant change for a traditional newspaper that has struggled to remake itself.

Besides Weigel, who came from the liberal Washington Independent, the Post also has Ezra Klein, hired last May from the American Prospect to bring his brand of deliberately wonky policy writing to its website; and Greg Sargent, who the paper said Tuesday will soon move to the Post itself after coming from TPM to run a political blog for the Post-owned website, WhoRunsGov.com, as well as two editors recently hired from the Huffington Post to handle online aggregation and social networking.

Post National Editor Kevin Merida said the Post is simply trying to respond to the demands of a new online audience.

“The web is a place where people want to come to the news of the day and developments in the political world and public policy from different vantage points, so you’re trying to offer people online a pretty robust smorgasbord,” he said, noting that the paper – sharply criticized from the left for its support for the Iraq war and other editorial opinions – has always carried opinion columns.

“The blogging space is a unique space between reporting and commentary,” he said, describing Weigel as working in “the same way [Fix blogger] Chris Cillizza does, the same way Ezra does – at the intersection of politics and policy.”

The liberal hires have drawn criticism from two directions.

Conservatives have complained of being covered by people they perceive as liberal. Having Weigel on her beat was “like assigning a weasel to watch the hen house,” Concerned Women for America chief executive Penny Nance told the conservative blogger Matt Lewis Tuesday, after Weigel wrote “I can empathize with everone I cover except for the anti-gay marriage bigots. (He later apologized for using the word “bigot,” but didn’t deny the lack of empathy.)

Traditionalists, meanwhile, worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values.

“It’s a danger to the brand if they go too far with it – if there really are only liberal voices – because they’re in a different ballgame than the Huffington Post is,” said Rem Rieder, editor of the American Journalism Review, who once worked at the Post. “It’s a good sign to get some of these provocative voices in there. The question is do they want to become MSNBC, and I don’t think they do,” he said, noting that the Post is “still trying to appeal to a broad swath of people.”

“I don’t see it as compromising what we stand for,” Merida responded. “It’s added value.”

The recent hires seem to have less to do with ideology than the impulse of every media company to try new things in a changing environment, in which it is widely viewed as having lost a step to online publications – including POLITICO. Filling analytical and ideological space that POLITICO and others do not could be a way of jumping ahead.

“People need to stop wishing they’d gotten in in ‘05 and ‘06 and [instead to] get the content that they need as a reaction to the changes in the media in ’05, ’06, ’07, and ’08,” said Klein, who argues that while the market for news and opinion is saturated, demand for his “analysis and explanation” remains high.

Marcus Brauchli, the Post’s executive editor, referred to Klein as a “new paradigm” that the paper would “very much like to replicate,” rankling some in the newsroom, and the hire of Weigel on his recommendation confirmed his high stock among Post executives. Managing Editor Raju Narisetti (who drew his own rebuke from the Post’s ombudsman for opinionated tweets) is said to be a particular champion of the blogging genre. Narisetti, in India on vacation, wasn’t immediately available to comment Tuesday.

“It seems like the rest of us could take some lessons from [Klein’s] success in realizing how much readers value the voice of earned, fully reported authority, beyond the usual ‘he said-she said,’” Alec MacGillis, a Post National staff reporter who also covers domestic policy, said in an email. “We can’t go as far as the bloggers do, but there’s a spectrum, and editors who celebrate the popularity of someone like Ezra perhaps can also encourage a more authoritative voice across the newsroom.”

The Post’s frequent detractors on the media-critic left also view the shift warmly.

“Online, ‘here’s where I’m coming from’ is as likely to be trusted as the View from Nowhere or ‘straight down the middle’ approach, perhaps more so,” said New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen in an email. “In effect, then, adding bloggers to the national staff is a hedging device against loss of trust in the old model. It protects the brand, and extends it to a space the old guard is less comfortable with.”

Weigel’s hire brought with it some internal confusion, as might be expected of a journalist whose journey took him from the libertarian Reason Magazine to the new progressive fixture, the Washington Independent. He made his name covering the dark corners of conservatism – purveyors of rumors that President Barack Obama is gay or a foreigner – that play widely among Democrats eager to view conservatives at their worst. He offered early, respectful coverage of the tea party movement, occasionally leavened by sharp jabs at conservatives on his personal Twitter account. He is nobody’s doctrinaire conservative, though some Posties said he was initially viewed as such internally. And he uses his eclectic views to bond with conservative sources, he said.

“I’ll try to find the one conservative issue I agree with them on,” he said.

Merida said he never asked Weigel about his politics, and Klein said he presented him to the paper simply as the best reporter on the subject.

Some at the paper took Weigel for a true conservative counter-balance to Klein’s wonky, but fairly reliable, liberalism, two people familiar with his hiring said. Merida, in a web chat last month, was asked, “Will you (or Chris Cillizza) be adding more conservative/Republican voices to better balance what is now your predominately liberal/Democratic leaning coverage?”

He responded that “we recently have added to our staff the well-regarded Dave Weigel, who writes the new ‘Right Now’ blog,” before mentioning conservative columnists Kathleen Parker and Charles Krauthammer.

Weigel’s politics are, as he says, “all over the map”: He views himself as a libertarian, though he opposes legal abortion in most cases. He is a registered Republican who voted for Ron Paul in his party’s primary, but says he has voted for the Democrat in every presidential election.

“I’ve never heard him referred to as conservative,” said Ben Domenech, a conservative blogger who was hired in an earlier Post experiment in blogging, then resigned for plagiarism.

The experiment in the liberal blogosphere isn’t the Post’s only new direction. It recently launched PostPolitics, a rebranding of its politics homepage, and named Cillizza, a traditional, neutral political writer, as its managing editor.

But the Post’s experiment with openly ideological reporting marks a new, and important turn, noted Sargent, whose blog regularly ranks near the top of Technorati’s list of the blogs with the most recent incoming links.

“It’s obviously a pretty huge privilege to be able to try to do opinionated reporting in the blogospheric idiom from a hallowed platform like that which has a tremendous amount of journalistic cachet and a great reputation,” he said. “It’s a really interesting experiment on their part to let people try this.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36789_Page3.html#ixzz0n3k5Rmx6

The Jihadists’ Deadly Path to Citizenship

by Michelle Malkin

America’s homeland security amnesia never ceases to amaze. In the aftermath of the botched Times Square terror attack over the weekend, Pakistani-born bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad’s U.S. citizenship status caused a bit of shock and awe. The Atlantic magazine writer Jeffrey Goldberg’s response was typical: “I am struck by the fact that he is a naturalized American citizen, not a recent or temporary visitor.” Well, wake up and smell the deadly deception.

Shahzad’s path to American citizenship — he reportedly married an American woman, Huma Mian, in 2008 after spending a decade in the country on foreign student and employment visas — is a tried-and-true terror formula. Jihadists have been gaming the sham marriage racket with impunity for years. And immigration benefit fraud has provided invaluable cover and aid for U.S.-based Islamic plotters, including many other operatives planning attacks on New York City. As I’ve reported previously:

— El Sayyid A. Nosair wed Karen Ann Mills Sweeney to avoid deportation for overstaying his visa. He acquired U.S. citizenship, allowing him to remain in the country, and was later convicted for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that claimed six lives.

— Ali Mohamed became an American citizen after marrying a woman he met on a plane trip from Egypt to New York. Recently divorced, Linda Lee Sanchez wed Mohamed in Reno, Nev., after a six-week “courtship.” Mohamed became a top aide to Osama bin Laden and was later convicted for his role in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa that killed 12 Americans and more than 200 others.

— Embassy bombing plotter Khalid Abu al Dahab obtained citizenship after marrying three different American women.

— Embassy bombing plotter Wadih el Hage, Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary, married April Ray in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 1989. Ray knew of her husband’s employment with bin Laden, but like many of these women in bogus marriages, she pleaded ignorance about the nature of her husband’s work. El Hage, she says, was a sweet man, and bin Laden “was a great boss.”

— Lebanon-born Chawki Youssef Hammoud, convicted in a Hezbollah cigarette-smuggling operation based out of Charlotte, N.C., married American citizen Jessica Fortune for a green card to remain in the country.

— Hammoud’s brother, Mohammed Hammoud, married three different American women. After arriving in the United States on a counterfeit visa, being ordered deported and filing an appeal, he wed Sabina Edwards to gain a green card. Federal immigration officials refused to award him legal status after this first marriage was deemed bogus in 1994. Undaunted, he married Jessica Wedel in May 1997 and, while still wed to her, paid Angela Tsioumas (already married to someone else, too) to marry him in Detroit. The Tsioumas union netted Mohammed Hammoud temporary legal residence to operate the terror cash scam. He was later convicted on 16 counts that included providing material support to Hezbollah.

— A total of eight Middle Eastern men who plotted to bomb New York landmarks in 1993 — Fadil Abdelgani, Amir Abdelgani, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, Tarig Elhassan, Abdo Mohammed Haggag, Fares Khallafalla, Mohammed Saleh, and Matarawy Mohammed Said Saleh — all obtained legal permanent residence by marrying American citizens.

A year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, homeland security officials cracked a massive illegal alien Middle Eastern marriage fraud ring in a sting dubbed “Operation Broken Vows.” Authorities were stunned by the scope of the operations, which stretched from Boston to South Carolina to California. But marriage fraud remains a treacherous path of least resistance. The waiting period for U.S. citizenship is cut by more than half for marriage visa beneficiaries. Sham marriage monitoring by backlogged homeland security investigators is practically nonexistent.

As former federal immigration official Michael Cutler warned years ago: “Immigration benefit fraud is certainly one of the major ‘dots’ that was not connected prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and remains a ‘dot’ that is not really being addressed the way it needs to be in order to secure our nation against criminals and terrorists who understand how important it is for them to ‘game’ the system as a part of the embedding process.”

Jihadists have knowingly and deliberately exploited our lax immigration and entrance policies to secure the rights and benefits of American citizenship while they plot mass murder — and we haven’t done a thing to stop them.

Mrs. Malkin is author of Unhinged (Regnery) and “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2009).

Is President Obama Using Executive Powers To Organize Angry Anti-Capitalist Protests On The Streets Of America?

Is President Obama Using Executive Powers To Organize Angry Anti-Capitalist Protests On The Streets Of America?.

DEMOCRATS ARE TOUGH ON TERRORISM?

By Neal Boortz

‘m not sure what planet House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is living on, or what he’s smoking, but wherever that is or whatever he’s inhaling, I want none of it. Here’s what Steny Hoyer has to say about the Democrats and terrorism:

“We’re tough on terrorists. That’s our policy. That’s our performance. And, in fact, we’ve been more successful.”

That’s an interesting point of view. Let’s consider a few actions from the Obama administration:

* The Executive Order to shut down Guantanamo Bay
* The Fort Hood shooting
* Refusing to use the words “Islamic terrorism”
* The Underwear Bomber
* Reading the Underwear Bomber his Miranda Rights
* Trying the Underwear Bomber in civilian court
* Softening the US use of torture
* Putting the interrogation of all high-profile terrorist suspects under the control of the White House.
* The decision to try 911 terrorists on trial in New York City.
* Appointing Janet “the system worked” Napolitano to be head of Homeland Security

Now I will ask you to revisit Steny Hoyer’s assertions .. do you really believe it when he says that Democrats are “tough on terrorists”?

W.H. woos GOP on immigration

By CAROL E. LEE & KASIE HUNT

Republican Sens. Judd Gregg (N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Scott Brown (Mass.) are being courted by the White House to support immigration reform. AP photo composite by POLITICO Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36786.html#ixzz0n42G2SlG

The White House is set to step up pressure on some key Republicans in hopes of winning support for comprehensive immigration reform.

But it’s shaping up to be a struggle, based on interviews with the senators President Barack Obama has approached on the issue.

The administration is starting with a pool of 11 Republicans who voted for immigration reform in 2006. Subtract a few who are dead-ends — such as John McCain, who faces a tough primary in Arizona — and that leaves the White House zeroing in on several others, including Dick Lugar, Judd Gregg and Lisa Murkowski and a couple of newcomers: Scott Brown and George LeMieux.

Each got a call from President Barack Obama from Air Force One two weeks ago. And last Wednesday, Obama stressed that without Republican support immigration reform is a nonstarter.

Next up, White House staff will reach out to the senators’ staffs to test out an outline of a Democratic proposal on immigration. Senate Democrats also have approached the White House about hosting an immigration summit to elevate the issue, an idea that came up during a meeting with immigration groups last Thursday, a person familiar with the meeting said.

Six other Republican senators voted for immigration reform four years ago — Bob Bennett, Sam Brownback, Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, Olympia Snowe and George Voinovich — but here are the Top 5 the White House is focused on now:

George LeMieux of Florida

Open to talking, wants to see Obama out front

He’s seen as open to supporting reform because he’s a seat warmer who will be out of the Senate next year, after taking the seat that opened up when Mel Martinez retired.

LeMieux is considered a possible challenger to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, but voting for immigration reform isn’t seen as harmful to that effort because Florida’s Latino voters are a powerful voting bloc.

When asked whether he would consider supporting an immigration bill, LeMieux said he has not seen the Democrats’ proposal but is more than willing to meet with them to review it. But, he said, reform is going to require a hands-on approach from Obama.

“Immigration is obviously a big issue for Florida. It’s a big issue for this country,” LeMieux said. “It’s going to take a lot of leadership from the president — we’re going to need to see the president get out behind a proposal.”

Dick Lugar of Indiana

Friendship with Obama doesn’t extend to backing reform

Lugar voted for immigration reform in 2006 and is one of Obama’s closest friends in the Senate.

But he said the White House is wasting its time on him and “can cross me off” the shortlist of potential Republican supporters.

“I’m not planning to support an immigration bill or co-sponsor one this year,” Lugar said. “I reserve the right to vote for or against one if one occurs. It appears to me, given the schedule of the Senate, it’s not going to happen.”

Scott Brown of Massachusetts

41st Republican wants a focus on jobs instead

Brown is an obvious target for Democrats on immigration reform. He’s new, represents a liberal state and has promised to work across the aisle, which he has in voting with Democrats on a jobs bill and unemployment benefits. He also replaced the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat who, along with McCain, co-sponsored the 2006 immigration bill.

Brown didn’t want to talk immigration reform, though. When asked what it would take to win him over, he said, “I’d have to see what they’re proposing.”

“We’re working on financial reform. The president called me, but that’s it,” he added. “I think we should be focusing on jobs instead of all this other stuff.” He said he doesn’t think immigration reform is related to jobs concerns.

Judd Gregg of New Hampshire

Wants to strengthen border security first

He’s been one of the Obama administration’s toughest critics on budget and deficit issues, but Gregg voted for immigration reform in 2006 and has preconditions for supporting it again.

Before he’ll even discuss a comprehensive immigration bill, he said, his precondition is that the administration must take immediate and separate action on securing the border. Even legislation that secures the border first, as Democrats propose, is not enough.

“Right now, the administration is in hiding on the issue of enforcing security at the border. They’ve got the resources, they’ve got the authorization, and they just need to do it,” said Gregg, suggesting the National Guard be posted along the border within months. “The American people are not going to agree to immigration reform until they see the border secured.”

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Reform prospects not “favorable”

Murkowski voted for immigration reform in 2006. As vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, she said her office has been meeting with Latino leaders to discuss immigration.

But she told Obama in their phone call that “the likelihood of something happening this year is pretty slim until the situation down on the border in Arizona is resolved.”

When asked if she would rule out taking up reform this year, Murkowski said: “I do not believe that the prospects are favorable at all, and I’m certainly not working to help accelerate it.”

Manu Raju contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36786_Page2.html#ixzz0n42YLHbT

Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

By ERIKA LOVLEY

While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.

During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

An Obama spokesman rejected the notion that the president took big oil money.

“President Obama didn’t accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said. “He raised $750 million from nearly four million Americans. And since he became president, he rolled back tax breaks and giveaways for the oil and gas industry, spearheaded a G20 agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and made the largest investment in American history in clean energy incentives.”

In Congress, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who last week cautioned that the incident should “not be used inappropriately” to halt Obama’s push for expansion of offshore drilling, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of BP’s largesse. Her comments created some blowback, with critics complaining that she is too blasé about the impact of the disaster, even though she was among the first lawmakers to call for a federal investigation into the spill.

As the top congressional recipient in the last cycle and one of the top BP cash recipients of the past two decades, Landrieu banked almost $17,000 from the oil giant in 2008 alone and has lined her war chest with more than $28,000 in BP cash overall.

“Campaign contributions, from energy companies or from environmental groups, have absolutely no impact on Sen. Landrieu’s policy agenda or her response to this unprecedented disaster in the Gulf,” said Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders. “The senator is proud of the broad coalition she’s built since her first day in the Senate to address the energy and environmental challenges in Louisiana and in the nation. This disaster only makes the effort to promote and save Louisiana’s coast all that more important.”

Several BP executives have given directly to Landrieu’s campaign, including current and previous U.S. operation Presidents Lamar McKay and Robert Malone. Other donors include Margaret Hudson, BP’s America vice president, and Benjamin Cannon, federal affairs director for the U.S. branch. Donations ranged from $1,000 to $2,300 during the past campaign cycle.

Environmentalists complain that Landrieu has played down the impact of oil spills.

“I mean, just the gallons are so minuscule compared to the benefits of U.S. strength and security, the benefits of job creation and energy security,” Landrieu said at a hearing last month on offshore drilling. “So while there are risks associated with everything, I think you understand that they are quite, quite minimal.”

“They own Mary Landrieu and the rest of the Louisiana delegation,” said Greenpeace Research Director Kert Davies. “They have more money, disposable income and a fleet of dispensable lobbyists to beat the band.”

Other politicians with ties to coastal states or states with BP refineries have also reaped benefits from the fourth largest company in the world.

The top congressional recipients of BP campaign cash include Republican Rep. Don Young of the oil-intensive Alaska delegation, who has received almost as much as Obama, raking in $73,300 during his congressional tenure. Also on the list is Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), whose state has a BP refinery in Toledo and who has raked in $41,400. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has received $44,899.

“Make no mistake: BP ranks among the most powerful corporate forces in U.S. politics,” said Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. “It donates hundreds of thousands of dollars every election cycle through its employees and political action committee and is routinely a seven- or eight-figure federal lobbying powerhouse each year.”

In 2008 alone, BP gave $37,000 to members of the House Energy Committee and $106,501 to members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which deals with security issues facing the nation’s oil supply.

BP has also evolved in its corporate giving over the past decade, shifting more money to Democrats. In 2000, the company gave almost 39 percent more to Republicans than to Democrats. But by 2008, Democrats had nearly pulled even with Republicans on BP donations.

Moreover, the company has nearly tripled the amount of money it has spent on lobbying, from about $5.7 million in 1999 to $15.9 million last year, according to lobbying disclosures.

BP has bulked up its K Street team by signing some of the biggest firms in Washington, several of which employ former Hill staffers with deep-seated ties to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico coast.

BP representation within lobby shop Alpine Group alone includes lobbyist Bob Brooks, who served as chief of staff to former Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.), and lobbyist Rebecca Hawes, a longtime counsel for former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.). Jason Schendle worked for Landrieu for nine years, according to lobbying disclosures.

Former Rep. Jim Turner, now a lobbyist for BP with Arnold & Porter, formerly represented the 2nd District of Texas, which includes a large piece of Gulf shoreline. And at DC Legislative and Regulatory Services, BP lobbyist David Marin was formerly the lead Hill staffer for Congress’s Select Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina.

“First, they are exceedingly competent. Second, they are [Democratic-centric]. I know the first will help enormously in the next few weeks. I am not so sure about the second,” said Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKen­na of MWR Strategies, who predicted that Landrieu would quite likely get “very wide latitude” on the oil issue. “That may not be the case with BP, whose record is a bit more spotty.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36783_Page2.html#ixzz0n4aDT5Hj

Liberals are from Mars, Conservatives are from Earth

By Robin of Berkeley

One of the things I like so much about writing for American Thinker is the comments page. Readers offer so much: tips for books to read, quotes to ponder, spiritual inspiration. And then there are times when the comments absolutely floor me.

I was shocked that readers were shocked about my previously viewing Marxism as sublime. I was astonished that readers were astonished about my young client’s freak out about styrofoam.

I realized that liberals really do live on another planet. Sometimes I feel like I’m having a Close Encounter of the Political Kind.

Conservatives can mistakenly assume that liberals think like they do, in a learned and rational way. This is an exercise in futility since liberalism is not based on logic.

To become a conservative, I’ve had to learn a whole new language, one based on reason. If conservatives want to understand the liberal mind, they should consider becoming bilingual too.

Liberals live in a stratosphere centered on emotions and magical thinking. If you’ve tried to reason with your daughter and she looks at you blankly; if your neighbor changes the subject during your compelling arguments; if your cousin says this about Obama, “I don’t know why. I just like the guy.” . . . that’s why.

After I ‘fessed up last week to once being besotted with socialism, a reader had an epiphany. He wrote that maybe liberals are just plain stupid.

I’m not going to disagree with this. There are innumerable examples from both the famous and the anonymous:

— The most illustrious of all leftists, Noam Chomsky, still maintains that the Khmer Rouge did not slaughter millions of Cambodians.

— Liberal luminaries, Annette Bening and Naomi Wolf, defend Radical Islam, including the dreaded burqua.

— After journeying to Cuba, members of the Congressional Black Caucus bragged about the stellar conditions there.

— Michael Moore thinks that the Cuban health system is to die for.

— Anita Dunn, a former special assistant to Obama, stated that Mao was one of the people she admired the most.

If these are the more informed liberals, what about Jane and Joe in the street?

— During the primary, I asked my friend Gail why she was voting for Obama. Did she know anything about his voting record or background? She responded, “No, I don’t.” When I asked her why she was voting for him, she said, “I just am.”

— Last week, I chatted with Shelley, a liberal pal who voted for Obama. I asked her what she thought of him now. She said that she thought he was doing fine, but she confessed that she wasn’t following the news.

— During the election, I told a friend, George, that I thought Obama was a socialist. George responded, “Well capitalism doesn’t work. Why not try socialism?” Dr. George has a Ph.D.

Are these folks “stupid”? I looked up the word, and my dictionary reads, “lacking intelligence or common sense.” Going by that definition, it would be hard to argue no.

Liberals are certainly capable of intelligence. They may be adept at their careers and hobbies. But the problem is that their naive and a delusional way of looking at the world impedes common sense and street smarts.

Further, when liberals take the time to tune in, they get their “information” from progressive propaganda. And they don’t question the Left’s authority.

That’s the biggest problem — not questioning the party line even though there are obvious gaps and gaffes. A big reason for this is fear.

I had a telling email exchange with a liberal friend. When I wrote that I thought Obama was a Marxist, she responded, “Don’t say that! You’re scaring me!”

Aside from intellectual laziness, the Fear Factor makes otherwise intelligent liberals stupidly fall into line. Liberals can scare easily.

Unarmed with both weapons and the basic facts, they have no way to defend themselves. Imagine a liberal and a conservative being dropped off in separate wilderness areas. How many days before the liberal would be no more? Meanwhile, weeks later, the conservative would still be going strong

Many liberals know how inadequate they are, whether at hunting their own meat or throwing a baseball. It’s generally the conservative they’ll call on to build a fence, or rewire their house, or protect their families. Without conservatives, they are rendered absolutely helpless.

This may be a hidden reason for their contempt for conservatives: they know that you can do stuff they can’t; that you can survive when they’d croak; and that you don’t need the government and they do.

Many conservative women — like the intrepid Sarah Palin — are more capable, more powerful, yes, more a “man” than some of the liberal XY specimens. And the utter shame of this makes them despise you — and want to render you helpless too.

That’s the universe I grew up in, that I lived in my whole life, until the mysterious winds of Fate swept me up and turned my life upside down. For most of my life, I was a secular ignoramus, living in and for the self. I navigated the world with the Braille of feelings; and I blindly followed the leaders.

I’ve now spent 2 years exploring a different planet entirely, the more formidable and logical and spiritual one where conservatives work and play. I’ve parked myself firmly in your world, while I write about the other one.

Frankly, I like your hemisphere better, and have settled in for good. I feel more safely ensconced with the earth beneath me and the heavens above me than I ever did in Outer Space.

A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and a psychotherapist in Berkeley.