Just listened to the now weekly audio brawl between Hugh Hewitt and Peter Beinart. It is interesting to hear such diametrically opposed viewpoints go head-to-head. But since each have their own agendas, and each are unwilling to stray from their plans, it degenerates pretty quickly into a babbling cacophony of stray talking points.
I blame Beinart, of course. It's HH's show, and Beinart should understand he has to address what Hugh wants to talk about, for as long as he wants to talk about it. Either because of his stubbornness or because he hasn't prepared for Hugh's topics, Beinart refuses to do so and we get the desperate squawking routine--today for two entire segments. Beinart's shrill, whiny delivery doesn't go over well when he's calmly, amicably discussing the issues. But when he's agitated, it gets to frenzied chihuahua howling levels.
My advice for Beinart is to get a sense of humor. Even if he insists on digging his heels in, most of these discussions could still be productive, and easy to listen to, if he'd accept Hugh's persistence in a good-natured fashion. I think Hugh's predatory prosecutor’s instincts kick in every time Beinart starts desperately thrashing about. A little genial laughter would ease the conversational vise grips a little bit. I don't know a single liberal in the media capable of genial, good-natured laughter, so perhaps I'm asking the impossible.
One more observation--I heard Beinart directly rip off George Will today. In the discussion of Iraq and Najaf, Beinart dropped a line about the new Iraqi government being illegitimate because it didn't have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. I'm paraphrasing of course, but his specific seleciton of words immediately brought me back to the Will column I read earlier this week:
If it is the prime minister's will, or that of Iraq's embryonic democratic institutions, to conduct with insurgent factions negotiations that strip the Iraqi state of an essential attribute of statehood--a monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence--the U.S. presence will swiftly become untenable.
Shrill, whiny, agitated, and prone to ripping off others without attribution. I never thought I'd say it, but I miss Joshua Micah Marshall. At least he wasn’t prone to ripping off others without attribution.
UPDATE: What a sweet relief it is to hear the dulcet tones of Scott Johnson coming through now.