Dalton Conley’s foot-in-mouth problem …

Maria Luisa Tucker was right to tee off on Dalton Conley's unfortunate Op-ed defending husband notification requirements in the New York Times.

She wasn't the only one. Conley whipped up a firestorm around the leftisphere. Atrios, who I generally like, called him a wanker.

Conley dug himself in further with an attempt to respond to the shitstorm on the Huffington Post.

He should have left well enough alone. His argument was too arcane by half and, I imagine, went right over the heads of most.

I won't defend his op-ed, but I want to say this about Dalton Conley: he's got one of the best minds on the left.

Conley's Being Black, Living in the Red is one of the best analyses of how race and class intersect out there. It was based on his doctoral thesis (which won dissertation of the year a few years back). Here's an interview with him about the subject. He's argued (PDF) for slavery reparations, and he's offered Democrats a roadmap for using tax policy to help the poor during a Republican administration. I've seen him get thrashed for advocating tax policies that were radically outside the center-right mainstream. And he's written that we should do away with corporate personhood, the bane of progressive reforms.

I've spent a fascinating hour interviewing Conley, and I can tell you his intentions are good.

You may now continue with your flogging. But ask yourself: if one of the bright minds of the right strayed a bit from orthodoxy, would they shred him as thoroughly as we do?

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