Swampland Lite

Late last month, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post wrote a column (“See You in September”) about the emergency appropriations bill in which he said progressives just need to simmer down and wait, that they should take a chill pill, and remember how long it took the Goldwater conservatives to take power in the Republican party. He provided this quote neat the end of the column:

Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said recently that no one remembers how long it took to reverse the direction of American policy in Vietnam. Obey is hunkered down for a lengthy struggle.

I wrote Mr. Dionne, and mentioned that — considering the Vietnam War began under a Democratic president during a period when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and was prosecuted by a Republican president for five more years, again with a Democratic Congress — that perhaps the problem with reversing the direction of American policy at the time was that most of the Democratic leadership had been invested in the war from the beginning and wasn’t exactly opposed to the war.

I was mildly surprised a week-and-a-half after I sent my message to get a response, until I saw that it was a form letter:

Dear Darrel

Many thanks for your recent comments on my column. I’m grateful when people
are kind enough to take time out to offer generous thoughts, though I also
appreciate the passion and concern of those who disagree.

Opinion pages are supposed to spur debate, and my readers keep me on my
toes. That’s why I read my e-mail and have on occasion written columns
replying to readers. I hope you will understand that it is often difficult
to reply in detail to every note and letter I get. But please know that I am
paying attention. If you would like, please visit my new discussion board on
the Washington Post website: E.J.’s Precinct.

Best wishes,
E.J. Dionne

How special. A discussion board with minimal interaction from Dionne (11 posts between 5/22 and 6/11).

And then there’s this. A piece titled “Replying to Blogger Friends”, with the tag line: “Posted by EJ_Dionne at 6/3/2007 9:44 AM” that has a paragraph near the end that starts out referring to himself in third person, apparently:

Please feel free to join earlier debates on which E.J. has expressed his view.

Is he even writing the few posts his name is on? Or reading the comments of others? Is it “Swampland Lite”?