THE POST AND THE END OF AN ERA! Colbert Kings column was a disgrace. It captured a 16-year era: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2009
He knows what hes talking about: This morning, Paul Krugman, who knows what hes talking about, criticizes three different things Republicans have said about the stimulus package. Youll note that he doesnt echo the claims found in this HuffPo report.
Odd, isnt it? Over the weekend, that piece was echoed by one and all, in 20-second efforts all over the web. (For one example, just click here.) Who knows? Maybe were all just Brent Bozell now! More on this topic tomorrow.
THE POST AND THE END OF AN ERA: Twice last week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Washington Post published special commemorative editions, charging two bucks for the paper instead of the usual fifty cents. The paper captured the start of an eraand made a few bucks as it did.
Truly, though, the Post should have charged extra for Saturdays paper, which truly captured the soul of an age. In this case, the newspaper captured the end of an era, through an astounding op-ed column. We refer to this column by Colbert King, a Washington Post editorial board member. Kings column was given the featured position on Saturdays hard-copy op-ed page. As we write, it remains the featured piece among the days columns on-line.
With his astounding piece, King truly captured the end of an era. He captures the end of the 16-year Clinton/Bush era, an era which was largely driven by the rolling Clinton-hatred of the upper-end Washington press corps. King is a member of that sad groupand, to judge from Saturdays piece, he is by now barely sane.
We knowits hard to swallow such radical judgments when your emperors go for their strolls. But please review the gentlemans columnand understand these things:
In a time of war and financial collapse, King used his weekly column to offer inane complaints aboutwhat else?the vile personal conduct of President Clinton. And understand this: This loathing explains Kings final column in Campaign 2000three days before the critical vote which changed the worlds history.
Give him credit: This Saturday, King seemed to know that what he was writing was an insult to the public discourse. He opened with a revealing look at the mind-set of your lords:
Note the mind-set of this fine breed: King will only withhold churlish thoughts if they might harm his own future career. No concern is expressed about what these thoughts might do to your public discourseyour interests. But with that warning, we were handed Kings complaints about William Jefferson Clinton. Most important, we saw what Colbert King has on his mind, even as the world is collapsing around those who are less wealthy.
What were Kings complaints about Clinton? First, King was offended when he saw Clinton at Wednesdays National Prayer Service. Pray that he becomes acquainted with John 3:30, this humble man humbly prays in his column. Then, he starts to detail his complaint. Yes, he actually wrote this:
Lets stop there. Obamas ascending secretary of state is, of course, married to Bill Clinton. But so what! King is willing to let us know that she needs a lot less of the man! Continuing, King fleshed out his complaint. Please note the highlighted passage:
To state the obvious, the Clintons were sitting in the front row because theyd been asked by Obama. But Clinton-hatred robbed Kings cohort of its slim faculties long, long ago. In a time of war and financial disaster, the gentlemans leading concern this week was Bill Clintons seat at a prayer service. Obviously, Obama did ask the Clintons to sit where they satand no one with an ounce of sense gave the matter a moments thought. But to the emperor King, it seems to have been the weeks top event, with King expressing his pique at both Clintons! Which brought mlord to Event Number Two. Its hard to believe, but this second complaint is crazier, by far, than the first:
It was a low-key event, King writesbut no event is so low-key that it wont anger the Clinton/Gore-hater. In fact, no one on earth cared a fig about that particular low-key eventexcept for the family, and except for Kings brain-damaged cohort, of course. If you want to know how a candidate like Bush reached the White House, its all explained right here:
We know. Youve now decided that this is a jokethat we have simply been making this up. But truly, that is what this high lord wrote in his weekly column, in our most important political newspaper. In a time of war and financial disaster, Colbert King decided to stick his big, long nose into the midst of that low-key event. All-knowing, he informs us that Chelsea should have presented that Bible, not that needy man.
Chelsea should have been holding the Bible, this consummate imbecile said. He said it in his weekly column in our most important political newspaper.
But then, this conduct does make perfect sense. Like Antoinettes through the annals of history, Colbert King had a better idea about how this family should have behavedeven at this low-key event. And needless to say, this manthis man who is barely sanehad more insights to offer:
At this point, King condescended to list five things the secretary of state should tell her husband. You can read the list for yourselves. But in the last of the five, King has Hillary Clinton speaking profanely to her husband. Keep your damn hands to yourself, Colbert King tells her to say.
Its hard to fund words for the borderline sanity King put on display in this column. And its hard to find words for the open insult he delivered to average people. King, of course, is well-off and positionedhes a former bank executive and a current Post board member. (In fairness, he writes excellent pieces about DC affairswhen he isnt dragged away by derangement.) Outside the palace, events are mightily bearing down on less privileged people than he. But so what? Their reward from King are these churlish thoughtshis thoughts about who should correctly have held the Bible when a secretary of state took her oath.
Incredibly, that is what the lords and ladies think is worth discussing.
The borderline sanity is fairly clearbut so is the shape of an era. You see, the ludicrous loathing King puts on display drove the work of the Insider Press Corps through much of the past sixteen years. Most consequentially, it drove the work of these pampered souls as they chased Candidate Gore around, trashing him fort twenty months, eventually sending Bush to the White House. That loathing explains Kings final column in Campaign 2000the one he wrote three days before the public went to the polls for a history-changing vote.
On Saturday, we saw what Clinton-hatred looks like at a time of war and collapse. In that November 2000 column, we saw what Clinton-hatred looked at a time of peace and prosperity, when transferred to the vile Gore. (We cant find the column on-line.) King started that day by boo-hoo-hooing at the idea that Bushs DUI arrest had become public so late in the game. (My short stint working at the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse in 1971 taught me that there are millions of Americans suffering from alcoholism and other drinking problems; that many are in denial; and that too many, unfortunately, won't seek help. From what I can see, Bush stepped up to his problem years ago.) But then, having vouched for Bushs conduct, he turned his attention to Candidate Gore and joined a long string of upper-end colleagues expressing their distaste for the troubling man. Every Dem in human history had been far better, King told:
Everyone was better than Gore! Why, even Clinton was better than Gore, he even managed to say, with straight face. Later, King offered a few more objections, straight from his cohorts hymnal:
Gore trailed JFKs standards on campaign finance ethics? Truly, it would be hard to express how absurd that comparison is. But King understood his cohorts key themes about Gores condescension, pandering, lack of charismaand about the yeast in his stories. (Al Gore said he invented the Internet! Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal! Al Gore said he inspired Love Story! Except, of course, that he didnt.) Having defended Bushs failure to reveal the [DUI] arrest himself, King recited the requisite themes about Gorethemes his cohort had spent years inventing.
Dont misunderstandKing more or less endorsed Gore by the end of this column (even though Gore was hard to swallow). Under Bush, the Supreme Court would take an even farther turn to the right, King noted; domestic policies would swing right too. Nor is it likely that Kings striking column affected any electoral votes; the Post has little pull in Florida or New Hampshire, states where the worm sadly turned. But the tone of this column had been widely echoed all through the Clinton/Gore-loathing world, among columnists with a much wider influence. For example:
The New York Times is widely read in the state of Florida. And in that newspaper, Frank Rich had spent the entire year insisting that Candidates Gore and Bush were just two privileged peas in a pod. (He kept it up for years after that.) Bob Herbert had vouched for Bushs honestyand slandered Gorein the punishing column he wrote right after their fatal first debate. And on the Sunday before the election, Maureen Dowd returned to the muse she had long found Gores highly comical bald spot. I feel pretty, she imagined Gore singing, as he looked in a mirror and talked to himself about The Spot. In short, the simpering scions of this fatuous class had long since transferred their Clinton-hatred to Gore. (Roger Simon, quoted by Howard Kurtz: We want to hear him say what a terrible reprobate the president was...Were going to make him jump through the hoops. I dont think theres anything wrong with that.) But then, none of these idiots seemed to see anything wrong with that game plan. Our advice for King, for Rich, Herbert, Dowd? Check today. Ask the dead of Iraq.
In our book, the Post should have charged a hefty fee on Saturday last, for the edition including Kings column. Written at a time such as this, the column expresses the broken-souled values of a simpering, pampered journalistic elite. And it captures the shape of a 16-year age. It tells us how Bush got where he wasand how your army got to Iraq. Over the years, these Antoinettes have lived for one thingfor their much-loved hatred of all things Clinton/Gore. On Saturday morning, that hatred was on full display as a fatuous man of the palace lectured all about who should hold Bibles. Plainly, the man is barely sanebut he managed to capture an age. In our view, the cash-strapped Post missed a good chance to make a fast buck.
How quickly it all goes away: At the close of Saturdays column, King condescended to lecture his fellow scribes about the real shape of African-American history. Specifically citing his own great-grandfather, he described our greatest generations:
In that passage, King is describing some of our countrys greatest generationsthe generations of African-Americans who persevered, showed forbearance and developed vast wisdom through endless, inexcusable history. No doubt, his great-grandfather was one of these greatest. So too his parents and grandparents.
But King himself was one of the first to be offered the time-bombs of wealth, fame, position. Saturdays ridiculous column teaches us a time-honored lesson: Once we humans gain wealth, fame, position, how quickly it all goes away!
Saturdays piece was an open insult, a grinding disgrace. And it captured a 16-year age. Gore lied about those doggy pills! He wore three-button suits! And: Chelsea should have held that Bible, not that needy man!