One of our commenters objects to my Mickey Kaus goat joke. For those not aware of all internet traditions, this refers to the logic Kaus frequently employed in his assertions that every bad rumor about every major Democrat must be true:
I don’t like Kaus, but wasn’t he *right* when he said that John Edwards had an affair? Did the people that mocked Kaus for being right (for once) apologize to him?
Well, first of all, as I said when Kaus and his lickspilttles first advanced this line of argument, even on its own terms this is really dumb. Kaus’s methodology, as noted, was to believe every rumor advanced about every Democrat he didn’t like whether or not he had any evidence. Obviously, sometimes this will turn out to be right by accident, just as if Dick Morris and Dean Chambers continue to pick the Republican to win every presidential race they will at some point be right. That doesn’t mean the was any actual basis for Kaus’s assertions about Edwards, and certainly he doesn’t (for obvious reasons) believe every story a tabloid spreads about a Republican.
But in addition, as Atrios notes in comments, regardless of what Kaus would prefer to think, the “goat” meme did not start with the Edwards affair he was accidentally right about. I’m not sure if this is the very first example, but from Atrios in 2004:
In my eyes, I have to say, it’s likely that it’s true. Any claims by Kaus to not have carnal knowledge of goats will just be more evidence that the man is a liar.
If you’ll click the link, you’ll note the reference has nothing to do with John Edwards but instead refers to one of Kaus’s many embarrassingly hackish failed smear jobs on John Kerry. So, no, I don’t plan to stop using the goat meme to describe baseless smears of Democratic politicians.