Saturday, June 27, 2009


Ian Faerstein (Blogometer):
Where did you grow up?
I mostly grew up Seattle, but I was born in Chapel Hill. I also lived in NYC for three or four years, and went to high school in Philly.
Where do you live now?
Las Vegas, baby! I could be neighbors with John Ensign's ex!

If you have an occupation other than blogging, what is it?
My primary focus right now is creating videos and writing posts for Daily Kos, but I've written a political thriller that I need to get around to shopping to agents, and am at work on another book (actually, two). Before writing and blogging full-time, I was communications director for Sen. [Maria] Cantwell, and before that I worked for her at RealNetworks as director of internet marketing for the consumer division, of which she was SVP.

What's on your iPod right now?
I don't use an iPod -- I feel like a schmuck when I walk around with speakers in my ear. But I do use Rhapsody and Windows Media Center. As long as it isn't too saccharine or schmaltzy, there's a good chance I'll like it. Some stuff I've listened to recently...Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Radiohead, Tribe Called Quest, Louis Prima, Moby, Liz Phair (only "Exile in Guyville" though). Plus, whatever my girlfriend happens to be playing.

What book do you think every person should read?
I don't buy into the notion that any single book should be required reading. I'm not going Galt, and there's no Fountainhead mania happening here, so I'll punt on that question. However, anyone who is serious about poker would benefit from The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky. And I've never read an Elmore Leonard book and regretted it.

You've already written one novel; is there another one in the works?
Yep. :) But before I talk about it, I need to get around to selling my first!

Please finish this sentence: "When I'm not blogging, you'll probably find me..."
Hanging out with my girlfriend and her dogs and cats.

What has been your favorite blog post, or your favorite story to write about?
Well, most of my posts and stories center around the utter dysfunction and nearly-universal dishonesty of the conservative movement, from Republican politicians to 'intellectuals' on the right to Fox. As with books, I don't really have a favorite post, but I did get a kick out of a recent video I did showing Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, and Fox News lying through their teeth to make an attack on ABC and President Obama.

Which blogger(s) do you consider indispensable, if any?
You'll notice a theme here -- I think it's hard to argue any one blogger is indispensable. The thing that makes the blogosphere effective, I think, is that it's not a one way street. So I'd say that the indispensable thing about the blogosphere is that it's open to all.

I bet you're going to ask me who my favorite politician is. I'll probably answer "President Obama," which hopefully illustrates that I have a pretty high bar to have a "favorite."

Who's your favorite non-liberal blogger?
Ha. I was wrong. Here's one where I actually do have a favorite. Andrew Sullivan and Paul Phillips, who barely blogs anymore.

Who's your favorite active politician? Least favorite?
No question, President Obama -- if for no other reason than that he's president during America's most challenging era of my lifetime. It's not that I think he's perfect, but he's brought us closer to accomplishing major progressive goals than any other politician since I've been born.

My least favorite pols are Democrats who fall into the old trap of fearing Republican retaliation. It's hard to dislike Republican politicians given how effective they have been at destroying the conservative movement.

What would you realistically like to see Democrats accomplish in 2009?
Obviously, I want to see things like getting the economy back on track, restoring America's moral authority, finally rolling back discrimination against gays, and health care reform.

But my top priority is energy policy -- economic expansion depends on cheap energy, our future health depends on clean energy. Without developing alternate sources of energy, I don't see how the U.S. -- much less the world -- will be able to sustain (and improve) our quality of life.

Moreover, these new sources of energy could be huge jobs creators for some of the people who've struggled to keep up in the economy. Finally, even if you don't think the proximate cause of the Iraq War was oil, only a complete idiot would argue that our dependence on oil hasn't had a profoundly negative impact on our foreign policy and foreign misadventures.

If you could give President Obama advice, what would it be?
As long as you're proposing well-considered policies, the more stuff you try to get done, the better. The GOP is bewildered right now. The more you throw at them, the more confused they'll get -- and the more idiotic mistakes they'll make.

What keeps you up at night?
That we won't get energy policy right. That, and Lulu (one of the two dogs in my household).

Please feel free to ask and answer your own question.

Q: What advice do you have for conservatives? And do you even know any?

A: Yes, some of my closest friends are conservatives. (And at least one of them reads, and frequently enjoys, Daily Kos.)

I think conservatives need to recognize that Colin Powell is right -- we're now in an era where most Americans want government to help correct the mistakes made by letting the private sector run amok. Conservatives need to decide if they want to sit out the next decade or so (assuming that it takes at least that long to fix the screwups of the [George W.] Bush era) by taking the Glenn Beck approach to politics, or they need to offer a credible alternative to Democratic policies. Most likely, they're going to keep down their hard-right ideological path, and they ought to remember that Barry Goldwater didn't even get 40% of the vote in 1964. Today, Goldwater might not break 30%.

Most of all, conservatives should stop relying on Foxaganda, and start trying to be accurate. They should be more self-critical and more interested in figuring out where they went wrong. Everybody makes mistakes, but if you can't recognize those mistakes and use them as lessons for the future, you'll never actually make yourself better.

And as much as I'm on the progressive side of the debate, I really do wish conservatives were a more constructive political. As long as they continue to deny reality, however, they will continue to produce fools like Michelle Bachmann who are truly a cancer on the nation's discourse.

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