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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Satellite VC Comments Now Open

Spy Magazine occasionally ran a Letters to the Editor of the New Yorker feature, back when the New Yorker didn't have a letters section.  Because Jim Lindgren didn't set up the comments feature for this post, I think it's worth opening it up for comments here.  Here's the key paragraph:

Obama went from being the lawyer for ACORN, to “the Senator from ACORN” (as he was sometimes called in Illinois in 2007 and 2008), to the presidency. He pushed ACORN’s agenda in the Illinois legislature, and he pushed ACORN’s agenda in the US Senate. It shouldn’t be surprising that he has taken up a more sophisticated version of the ACORN-SEIU campaign against bankers, just as he did as a lawyer in the 1990s.

In case anyone's shy (you know, that's the usual problem on the Internet -- shyness), I'll start.  I've seen lots of what I would consider good and bad criticisms of President Obama on the Volokh Conspiracy blog, just as I saw plenty of good and bad criticisms or defenses of President Bush there.  But they generally were accompanied by reasons.  This paragraph does not strike me as coming close to meeting that (minimal) standard.

Posted by Paul Horwitz on January 26, 2010 at 12:05 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Why is it wrong to point out that O'bama is the Senator from ACORN when, in fact, he is?

Posted by: Bad Mojo | Jan 29, 2010 7:43:17 PM

Actually I think some of the VC bloggers provide insightful commentary on political issues from a libertarian perspective (and I'm a liberal). Eugene Volokh is scrupulously fair even when one disagrees with him. Orin Kerr is always thoughtful and willing to engage with commenters who disagree with him - provided they are civil. Ilya Somin makes careful and scholarly arguments on all sorts of subjects.

I like reading thoughtful commentary on political issues by very intelligent people. And I don't think people need special qualifications to offer arguments on such issues - politics is for all the people, who should be judged on the quality of their arguments. I value the understanding I have gained of libertarian and conservative perspectives I have gained by reading the VC. It has increased the respect I have for these perspectives - or at least the more thoughtful version of them.

The problem, of course, is that some of the bloggers (e.g. Jim Lindgren and David Bernstein) seem to be on personal campaigns and their arguments are not up to the standards of Volokh, Kerr, Somin, et al.

Posted by: DNJ | Jan 27, 2010 4:18:50 AM

"Orin Kerr’s solitary blog . . . the most boring blog in the history of the internet"

Not if you like ECPA.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Jan 27, 2010 2:03:26 AM

My favorite Volokh comment of all time:

I enjoyed the days of Orin Kerr’s solitary blog, which was great despite being the most boring blog in the history of the internet, because it was free of Bernstein and Kopel.

I think it's somewhat relevant, even if Lindgren isn't part of it.

Posted by: Shane | Jan 27, 2010 1:21:03 AM

I think VC is an excellent blog when its bloggers stick to their area of expertise. But its bloggers often stray from those areas and feel the need to spout off about politics. And its bloggers are just like the rest of us when we spout off about politics: when we stray from something we know a lot about -- for most of us, our little corner of the legal world -- we tend to come off like partisan hacks with an agenda. And that’s probably because most us _are_ partisan hacks with an agenda.

I think legal blogs that stick to their legal topic, whatever that might be, are always infinitely more interesting than the legal blogs that don’t. I really don’t care to read Jim Lindgren or David Bernstein or Paul Cassell (its scary to think that guy was a judge) pontificate on the latest conservative conspiracy theory. It’s a shame that the new VC software doesn’t seem to allow you to screen out certain bloggers. Since that’s no longer possible, I find myself reading volokh less and less. Obviously, the blog is doing quite well and my tastes don't match up with the rest of the market.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 27, 2010 12:22:33 AM

ACORN back in the news today, although not in the way its detractors might have hoped.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Jan 26, 2010 10:11:59 PM

As I recall, during the campaign there was a debate about whether Obama misdescribed himself as the Law Professor from Acorn, when there were those who felt he should have described himself as the Adjunct Law Professor or Part Time Law Lecturer From Acorn.

Was that just a strategy to ensure that Horwitz was unchallenged for the Real Law Professor From Acorn title?

Posted by: anon | Jan 26, 2010 4:18:00 PM

I'd always thought of Horwitz as the "law professor from U.N.C.L.E.", but I guess that might be wrong.

Posted by: Matt | Jan 26, 2010 12:01:08 PM

That's "...worse than 'bad criticism with reasons.'" Can't seem to get it straight.

Posted by: Marc DeGirolami | Jan 26, 2010 11:57:39 AM

Paul, are you really certain that "bad criticism" is better than "bad criticism with reasons"? I tend to prefer irrational bad criticism to the rational variety.

Posted by: Marc DeGirolami | Jan 26, 2010 11:54:50 AM

It figures Horwitz with stoop to this, as he has often been called "the law professor from ACORN."

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Jan 26, 2010 11:44:09 AM

Lindgren is a poor substitute for Clayton Cramer.

Posted by: Sam Heldman | Jan 26, 2010 11:34:13 AM

This is a great idea, to "open comments" on some of the more hacktacular posts at the VC (which often has very thoughtful commentary, especially by Eugene V. and Orin K.). As to this post, I was hoping to link one of the Jon Stewart bits showing what a fabulous prognosticator Cramer was in the months leading up to the financial meltdown. Not to mention the absurd "it's all ACORN'S fault!" meme.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Jan 26, 2010 9:00:17 AM

I also have to wonder why anyone would be willing to grant Jim Crammer much credibility on this sort of issue, especially as his analysis seems fairly self-serving.

Posted by: Matt | Jan 26, 2010 8:10:29 AM

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