THE JEERS OF A CLOWN! When Atrios remarked on Joe Klein, he brought a loud talker to mind: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2007
NEVER EXPLAIN, NEVER ADMIT: In this post, Atrios discusses Joe Kleins recent reinvention of his pre-war stance on Iraq. If anything, Ate is too kind to Klein. At the start of the week, Klein linked to this Slate piece as proof of [t]he fact that I've been opposed to the Iraq war ever since 2002. But few people would think of that piece in Slate as a statement of opposition to the war. If anything ,we think Ate was a bit too fair in his statement of this point.
But then, its a basic part of Modern Pundit Culture—you never explain and you never admit. Reading Atrios, we were reminded of our reaction to this bit of crafted nonsense from Sundays Washington Post:
CILLIZZA (1/7/07): As the Democratic field for 2008 takes shape, one big remaining question is whether former vice president Al Gore—winner of the popular vote in 2000, an almost-candidate in 2004 and now the public face of the movement to address global warming—will be in it.According to Cillizza, Gores public image has now become cool. And it isnt just liberals who have taken to Gore! Indeed, Gores renewed popularity has stoked speculation that Gore may enter the White House race.
Lets pray Cillizza isnt that dumb; lets hope hes just in the bag for his cohort. Is Gores renewed popularity so widespread that he ought to enter the race? Please. We dont know if hell enter the race, but in a recent Gallup poll, 31 percent of voters nationwide said theyd like to see Gore run; 67 percent said they wouldnt. A WNBC/Marist poll asked the same question; Gores numbers were 32-66. By way of comparison, John McCain was 56-40 in the Gallup poll; Americas Mayor was close behind (55-43). Its hard to say why Cillizza would think that some national surge is building for Gore. The data arent there—but the press corps reasons for pretending are perfectly clear. (For both polls, click here, scroll down.)
To appearances, Joe Klein doesnt want to discuss his actual pre-war stance. And pundits hate discussing the truth about their cohorts conduct in Campaign 2000. For twenty months, Cillizzas colleagues worked themselves blue making a joke of Candidate Gore. Sorry, but the numbers suggest that their disgraceful conduct has had long-lasting effects.
But remember. They never admit and they never explain; they never speak truly about their own conduct. We first mentioned this back in 1999 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/30/99). Unlike with Klein, when you check that link, youll see that were telling it truly.
THERE THEY WENT AGAIN: Last Sunday, Klein entered the cuckoos nest publicly known as The Chris Matthews Show. Always, endlessly, these shameless self-dealers promote their Alternate Realities:
MATTHEWS (1/7/07): Before we go to break, the Academy Awards are still almost two months away, but Al Gore is out there campaigning hard for his movie on global warming. He's been hitting the talk-show circuit. And last month, he hosted 1600 Inconvenient Truth house parties.Nothing on earth could be dumber than saying that Gore would be president today if hed only campaigned more about global warming. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/18/06, for a fuller discussion of this laughable point. (Its drawn from Kleins hapless book, Politics Lost. Matthews was throwing a well-scripted softball.) But again, they key point is this: This cohort never admits to what it has done, and it always comes up with alternate stories. Campaign 2000 was all Gores fault! These laughable losers will never stop saying it, disappearing what really occurred.
NOTE THE FRAMING: Meanwhile, note the way the unflattering framing continues. According to Matthews, Gore is out there campaigning hard for his movie (i.e., for himself) when he stages those Inconventient Truth house parties. Is it possible that Gore is actually trying to educate people about climate change? Sorry—that would be a positive image. Klein, meanwhile, pounds ahead with the image of Gore as a robot. Why did Gore come in at 31-67? Why did Saint Rudy score 55-43? In part, the answer is simple: One is routinely described as Americas Mayor, one as a self-serving robot.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Al Gore would be president today if hed talked more about global warming! Nothing could possibly be more stupid, but our pundits are good with their cover stories. On the December 21 Hardball, Matthews suggested another explanation for Campaign 2000. He chatted about 08 with Lynn Sweet:
SWEET (12/21/06): If were kind of spinning scenarios here, thats the big question mark. If Gore got in, that would change everything—According to Matthews suggestion, Gore didnt reach the White House because he lacked a sense of humor. But then, thats how it is with this millionaire cohort. Theres always another way to explain away their own vast, destructive misconduct.
But uh-oh! On December 15, Matthews slipped! He chatted with Steve McMahon about 08. And he briefly acknowledged his own past conduct:
MCMAHON (12/15/06): I think Mike [Murphy]s right about what the big questions out there are: Does Al Gore get in? Because Al Gore has a story, a great story.Mind-reading brilliantly, Matthews said that Gore was bitter at the way hed been treated by people like Matthews. (Note again the unflattering framing.) But this was a rare suggestion from this laughable talker about what really drove the campaign which put George Bush where he is.
Gee! A Hardball viewer might well have wondered what Matthews was talking about! How did Matthews treat Gore last time? What was Gore so (allegedly) bitter about? Soon, though, Matthews came to his senses—and he returned to promoting his cohorts tales about the way Al Gore blew a sure race.
Weve been meaning to record that rare statement by Matthews. Seeing Klein reinvent his own past brought it back to mind.
THE JEERS OF A CLOWN: Matthews was by far the most punishing, nasty and dishonest TV pundit during Campaign 2000. Youve never read this in your liberal journals because the weak, self-dealing boys who type there want to be on Hardball themselves.
Theres no quick way to summarize the abuse Matthews heaped on Gores head. But we recently chuckled at an ancient dispatch from John McCaslins Inside the Beltway column in the Washington Times. The dispatch, which we hadnt seen before, appeared on July 4, 2000. The well-known Washington pundit it cites is, fairly clearly, Chris Matthews:
MCCASLIN (7/4/00): In every race, there's a winner and a loser. So what happens to the loser in the 2000 presidential race?Sidak—clearly a script-reading robot herself—had her Gore lines down cold. (Gore was like Eddie Haskell. Gore was robotic. Gore talked down to average people. Gore would do and say anything to become president.) But she almost surely referred to Matthews with her story about the well-known Washington pundit who told her that Gore would get down and lick the floor to be president. Matthews simply luvved reciting this insult, sometimes specifying that it was the bathroom floor which the appalling Gore would be willing to lick. In September 2000, with Gore seeming to pull away in the polls, Matthews apologized for having directed this serial insult at the man who would rule (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/14/02). A weak little thigh-rubber went on TV and tried to get right with emerging power.
Pathetic, isnt it? In 2000, Matthews was going around repeating this insult even to third-tier, kooky-con players like Sidak! Gore would lick the floor to be president! Matthews would say this on the air—and at parties, hed whisper it to Washingtons biggest kooks. Today, he pretends that Bush ended up in the White House because Gore didnt tell enough jokes.
For two years, Matthews reinvented the kind of language major pundits would use in our discourse. (Forty times, he said that Candidate Gore was Bill Clintons bathtub ring. He was also a manlike object.) The real problem, though, was perfectly clear. Gore wasnt showing a good sense of humor—and he wasnt talking enough about warming! Without question—if hed only talked more about global warming, Matthews would have gone up to Sidak at some fatuous gathering and praised the great man to the skies.
Again: Youve never seen Matthews discussed in your liberal journals because the boys who work at such venues want to be play Hardball themselves.
Cillizza, of course, is a regular there. He will never tell you the truth about Campaign 2000. He has seen the numbers too—but so what? Hell pretend that all is well—that Gore could most certainly run.