THE ARGUMENT....Via Atrios,
I see that Joan Walsh has a long review at Salon
of Matt Bai's new book, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics. It was a fascinating read for me.
As near as I can tell, she and I had an almost (though not quite) identical reaction to Bai on substantive grounds, but despite that I loved the book and she hated it. Basically, I thought it was a terrific and insightful piece of reporting even though I thought Bai's basic theme failed to hold water, while Walsh was exasperated by the cluelessness of the book's basic theme but allowed that it also had some colorful and interesting reporting.
I guess a lot of it probably boils down to a gut reaction toward Bai's frequently snarky prose. He applies it far more to the billionaires than to the bloggers, but there's no question that the bloggers come in for their share as well. That didn't really bother me, since I take it for granted that blogs have both their good and bad sides and any honest reporting is going to expose them both. In the end I thought Bai was fundamentally sympathetic toward the netroots, warts and all, but your mileage may vary. Obviously Walsh's did.
Anyway, my review of The Argument will be in next month's issue of the magazine. I'll say more about it then.