Saturday, March 8, 2008

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Sui generis, anyone?

Jacob Heilbrunn has a truly odd post up about Samantha Power, in which he claims the following:

[N]o matter how ill-conceived they may have been, Power’s bellicose words aren’t an aberration. Instead, they highlight the adversarial style of a new generation of Democratic foreign-policy mavens who have more in common with the raucous world of bloggers than the somber, oak-lined environs of the Council on Foreign Relations.
OK, I follow this world pretty closely, and I have to ask -- who the hell is Heilbrunn talking about?

No doubt there are netrootsy types -- Spencer Ackerman, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Yglesias, for example -- who blog about foreign policy with a fierceness that matches Power's rhetoric. None of these guys are "Democratic foreign-policy mavens," however. On the other side of the ledger, the foreign policy mavens who populate either the Center for American Progress or Democracy Arsenal aren't terribly bellicose.

Seriously, I'd like Heilbrunn or others to name names here. Is there a generation of bellicose mavens who slipped under my radar?

My guess is that Samantha Power was sui generis -- a crusading journalist who made the leap to policy advisor (the only other person I can think of who made a similar leap was Strobe Talbott.... minus the crusading). It's a pretty rare crossover.

UPDATE: The New York Times' Ashley Parker -- in a story about how bloggers live/work/geek out in DC -- provides one data point for Heilbrunn:

Mr. Ackerman, who also lives in the house, blogs and works for The Washington Independent, a Web site that covers politics and policy. In April, his personal blog will move to the Web site of the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy group.
Still, this is insufficient data to characterize a trend.

posted by Dan on 03.08.08 at 03:23 PM


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