Liberal Paranoia

Having chided Steve Minarik for a ridiculous attack on the Drum Major Institute, I can’t avoid mocking Drum Major’s response as well.

Andrea Batista Schlesinger, who (not Freddy Ferrer) actually runs Drum Major, posted her response to Minarik on the Hollywood liberal organ Huffington Post, of course. She portrays Drum Major’s bad press as a Republican conspiracy against liberal ideas. This plot is spearheaded by Bloomberg aide Bill Cunningham, whom she describes as a noted Republican operative. (It was open-minded of the New York State Democratic Party to allow a Republican like Cunningham to serve as its executive director, come to think of it.)

“[E]ach time DMI raises critical questions about social and economic policy in New York, the conservatives says it’s tacit support for Mr. Ferrer’s campaign.

“A bit of a stretch? You better believe it.”

OK, I’m more or less with Andrea to this point.

But the article continues:

“Between Minarik writing letters asking for investigations and Bill Cunningham calling every newspaper reporter in sight to plant a story asserting connections that don’t exist, it is clear that theirs is a press strategy designed to undermine our credibility and, ultimately, to bring us down. If they wanted simply to attack Fernando Ferrer, they would pick a better story line than affiliation with a civil rights organization….

“It is hardly news that the right-wing of the GOP has re-adopted the Nixonian strategy of seeking to silence any and all dissent by undermining its credibility with baseless attacks, rather than by taking on opposing ideas on their merits.

“What is news it that the Right Wing is now focusing its attacks on progressive think tanks, the most fertile breeding grounds for progressive thought and policy development in our nation.”

There’s an instinct on the left nationally, and in New York, to conflate classic, non-ideological local hardball politics with national, ideological movement politics. Karl Rove, puppet-master.

But the idea that this is anything other than Bloomberg vs. Ferrer misreads the local scene in a serious way.

On the other hand, maybe some of those folks reading Huffington Post will give Drum Major some money.