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Daily Howler: Mike Judge's idiocracy is already present. Consider the Times' latest profile
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THE EVIL OF BANALITY! Mike Judge’s idiocracy is already present. Consider the Times’ latest profile: // link // print // previous // next //

SECRET TALES OF THE LIBERAL PRESS CORPS: On Fox News Sunday, Nina Easton—one of the “all-stars”—decided she’d better fess up:
CHRIS WALLACE (3/4/07): So with that as prelude, how are McCain and Romney doing at this point?

EASTON: Well, in full disclosure, my husband works for the McCain campaign, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
“Take what I say with a grain of salt?” Don’t worry, Nina—we always have! In case you’ve forgotten, Easton was once the Boston Globe’s Kerry reporter—one of the authors of that paper’s strange book about the fake, phony candidate. To sample her work during Campaign 04, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/2/04 (strongly recommended). In that HOWLER, you also can hear the whole pundit corps say that Al Gore screams just like Howard Dean.

At any rate, Easton’s much-better half works for McCain. A few hours later, Ron Brownstein appeared on CNN’s Late Edition. Unlike Easton, this scribe isn’t daft. But he had a tale to tell too:
WOLF BLITZER (3/4/07): All of a sudden, in all of these polls, [Giuliani] is coming out number one.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, Wolf, whenever I talk about the Republican race, I always start with the full disclosure that my lovely wife works for John McCain.

Maybe we could make this campaign a bit simpler. How about this? Maybe big journalists could just let us know if their spouses don’t work for McCain.

THE EVIL OF BANALITY: What’s amazing is the fact that they’re such perfect idiots—so fatuous, yet so convinced of their insight. Case in point: This astounding “profile” of Hillary Clinton in today’s New York Times. Starting on the front page—above the fold—Mike Leibovich devotes 2200 words to his portrait of Clinton. And bless his heart! Good lord, this man’s daft! He actually starts out like this:
LEIBOVICH (3/6/07): Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton signs autographs meticulously, drawing out each line and curve of ''H-i-l-l-a-r-y,'' ''R-o-d-h-a-m'' and ''C-l-i-n-t-o-n.'' She leaves no stray lines or wayward marks.

''Hillary, over here, over here,'' called out a young woman from the mob that formed outside the Berlin Town Hall when Mrs. Clinton, Democrat of New York, arrived for a ''conversation,'' in the parlance of the made-to-order intimacy of her presidential campaign. ''Can you sign my Hillary sign, please?'' the woman asked.

Mrs. Clinton autographed the poster, carefully. It took a full seven or eight seconds, none of the two-second scribbles of other politicians. She is the diligent student who gets an A in penmanship, the woman in a hurry who still takes care to dot her i's.
Simply put, they’re so dumb that it’s painful to read them. The fact that these people control our discourse is a national security problem. It’s a disaster for the national interest. As we should have learned from Campaign 2000, it’s a threat to the things you hold dear.

Of course, the “idiot profile” has lone been a staple of New York Times campaign “reporting.” In 1999, the late Johnny Apple went out on the road to observe Candidate George Bush in action. He gushed and marveled at the candidate’s brilliance (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/24/07). Here was his cringe-making overview:
APPLE (8/21/99): Mr. Bush—now referred to by newspapers around the country not as George W. Bush or even George W. but simply as W.—demonstrated real mastery of one-on-one campaigning.

His style is an amalgam of East and Southwest, Yale and the oil patch. Call him the Madras Cowboy.
“Call him the Madras Cowboy!” That sentence that would have embarrassed anyone—except a member of our press idiocracy. In this profile, it didn’t seem to occur to Apple that something was wrong when the nation’s newspapers were simply referring to Bush as “W” (while beating the sh*t out of Candidate Gore, as Apple would do in a later “profile”). Instead, Apple gushed and fawned and flattered—and coined that embarrassing moniker.

And that’s the style adopted this morning by the newest Times idiot, Leibovich. After describing how Clinton signs autographs, he starts explaining this puzzling focus. “To watch Mrs. Clinton up close during these ‘rollout’ weeks of her presidential campaign is to see a familiar political figure try to reclaim her name,” he types. And then, he gives Clinton her own inane moniker—reminding us, in painful fashion, that we’re ruled by a cohort of fools:
LEIBOVICH: ''I'm Hillary Clinton, and I'm running for president,'' she says at campaign appearances. Lamenting that her public image has been distorted by caricature, she often says, ''I may be the most famous person you don't really know.'' In the cliche of contemporary politics, Mrs. Clinton is ''reintroducing herself to the American people.''

She is, in this latest unveiling, the Nurturing Warrior.
Good Lord! Bush was once “the Madras Cowboy.” And Clinton, today, is “the Nurturing Warrior” (which makes Mark Leibovich the Diddling Draftsman). To read such work is to wonder why its author hasn’t been carted off a home, where his meals could be given to him every day, where he could be helped with his clothing each morning. He could meet Maureen Dowd in the home’s common room, where he could hear her mumble all day about the way Big Dem males are such girls. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/5/07, to remember how dumb this gang gets.

You have to read the entire profile today to see how daft this cohort has gotten. “Over the years, Mrs. Clinton has evolved through a series of female personas,” Leibovich writes—and he offers a list of such “personas,” a type of passage a scribe could write about any major politician. After that, we’re forced to sit through this boy’s account of the way this utterly phony woman speaks to voters on the trail. Soon he offers the following passage—and male resentment inhabits each word he types about the candidate’s “chitchats.” Try to believe—just try to believe—that a “journalist” actually wrote this nonsense, that an editor let it go into print:
LEIBOVICH: She contrasts the give-and-take of her chitchats—even though she does most of the talking—with what she suggests are the pig-headed pronouncements of a male bogeyman, George W. Bush. She rails against what she calls the ''one-sided conversation'' of Washington during the Bush years, bemoans President Bush's ''stubbornness,'' speaks of her frustration at getting him to hear opposing views. She essentially portrays him as an exasperating husband who is beyond marriage counseling.

It is not easy, though, to humanize a juggernaut, which Mrs. Clinton's well-financed and hyperdisciplined campaign most certainly is. And it is difficult to appear authentic in tightly controlled settings, or conduct intimate conversations amid mobs of people, many wearing press credentials.

But the senator is trying hard. In appearances in Washington and around the country, Mrs. Clinton—Version 08, Nurturing Warrior, Presidential Candidate Model—is speaking more freely of her gender than she has in years.
For those who don’t speak the language of this evil tribe, “Mrs. Clinton, Version 08" is a variant of the language used to tell the world that Gore was a phony. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/8/00, for a sample of this Gore-trashing language.) But how amazing is that first sentence we’ve highlighted? “She contrasts the give-and-take of her chitchats...with what she suggests are the pig-headed pronouncements of a male bogeyman, George W. Bush,” this boy types—making sure we get his account of what Clinton has said before he actually quotes her. The pig-headed pronouncements of a male bogeyman! A weak and utterly stupid boy typed those sad and evil words—and an idiot editor put them in print. And your children—including those will be born today—will suffer for the reign of this cohort.

Yes, these people are banal—and evil. They’re evil because they insist on forcing their banal frameworks onto every word typed, as they pretend to give “news reports” about our crucial White House elections. At the Times, they don’t much care for Candidate Clinton, just as they once hated Candidate Gore; just as they battered Gore in every rendering, they now work to take down Vile Clinton. Leibovich thinks that Clinton’s a phony—just as his predecessors said about Gore—and he seems to thinks she’s a castrating woman; he sees unfair attacks on a “pigheaded male bogeyman” in even her most routine statements. By now, everyone thinks that George Bush is stubborn—every human being on earth! But when Clinton dares to say such a thing, this weak—and utterly stupid—boy types an utterly ludicrous screed, in which Clinton serves as the planet’s great castrater. Go ahead—just marvel at what he has written. She’s being wildly unfair—to a much-maligned man. It would be hard to believe that such dumbness exists if you couldn’t read the Times every morning.

Do you think this weak boy has a few gender issues? Try to believe—just try to believe—the way the following inane passage ends. Every graf is designed to say Clinton’s a fake—but check out that astonishing closer:
LEIBOVICH: At a Capitol Hill ceremony in February to honor Sojourner Truth, the 19th-century slave turned abolitionist, Mrs. Clinton enveloped a series of women in hugs. She bestowed the ''best-dressed and most-stylish'' status on one guest and commented that an old, departed friend ''has got one of those turbans on, showing that style all over Heaven.''

Mrs. Clinton then looked to the ceiling and spread her hand wide over heart, performing a little side-to-side jig with her head.
She invoked Sojourner Truth's iconic quotation, ''Ain't I a woman?'' and added, ''Well, I've been saying that a few times lately, too.''

There were whoops, applause and shouts of ''you go, girl'' for Mrs. Clinton.

As she spoke, a press aide, Philippe Reines, held her purse. [END OF SECTION]
Good. God. Almighty. Once again, to state the obvious, every part of that passage is designed to show you how fake Clinton is. But then, we reach the coup de grace—the sentence that ends this part of the profile. Omigod! And Leibovich is clearly eager to tell it; the castrating bitch made poor Philippe Reines hold her purse while she spoke to those women! (Yes, Philippe Reines is a man.) And readers, if you think that isn’t what that strange passage means, we’ll suggest that, for the past fifteen years, you have been absent from the earth. Its meaning couldn’t be any more plain. Its writer couldn’t be any weaker.

Leibovich’s “profile” goes on and on. Incredibly, here’s the submission which follows the passage in which poor Reines has to hold Clinton’s purse—a nonsensical but utterly pointed passage about the various ways Clinton “nods” in the course of her various duties. No, we didn’t invent this:
LEIBOVICH: Mrs. Clinton is a prodigious nodder. She is always nodding, in an array of distinctive flavors: the stern, deferential nod (at a Senate news conference, when her colleague Evan Bayh described conditions in Afghanistan); the empathetic, lips-pursed nod (when a man in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, tells her about his son's epilepsy); the squinty, disbelieving nod (when a general testifies on Iraq before the Senate Armed Services Committee); the dutiful acknowledgment nod (when being applauded); and the blushing nod (when a veteran in Des Moines tells her ''I think you look very nice'').

When bored, Mrs. Clinton will occasionally fall into a far-off gaze before catching herself, defaulting to a nod.

The nodding appears unconscious, but not always. She nodded through a news conference with New York lawmakers discussing medical care for Sept. 11 relief workers.

''Nine-eleven was an act of war,'' Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said as Mrs. Clinton stood by, head bobbing.

''The villains aren't the terrorists,'' Mr. Nadler continued. ''The villains live in the White House.''

At which point Mrs. Clinton, perhaps sensing that the rhetoric had gotten too hot, stopped nodding.

Bill Clinton was also a great nodder, known for his ''I-feel-your-pain'' empathy and seeming ability to summon a misty-eyed visage on demand. He will pretty much hug anyone. His wife, who regularly invokes him on the campaign trial—''When Bill had his heart surgery,'' ''Bill used to love Dunkin' Donuts,'' ''Bill always reached out to other people who would be patient and listen''—can suffer by comparison. She keeps a more cautious distance, although when she does hug, she also tends to air-kiss (with a loud ''mwwwwwahh'').
Simply put, that’s political porn. Yes, that passage is utterly daft; it’s the work of a brain-damaged cohort. But the point of this nonsense is also quite clear. Leibovich thinks Clinton is a big phony. (Like her husband, who gets misty-eyed “on demand.”) Leibovich thinks that Clinton’s a phony—and he wants you to think that way too.

But then, Leibovich is utterly daft—and yes, his cohort is evil. As they did in Campaign 2000, these people are eager to destroy your democracy by subverting the putative role of the press corps. They pretend to offer “news reports” and “candidate profiles,” while they jam their various idiot theories down your throats in each word and sentence. They did this to Gore for twenty straight months, and now they’re eager to do it to Clinton. And here’s a note, to those of our readers who favor Obama or Edwards to Clinton: If you think they won’t move on to your guy once they’ve finished with Clinton, you’ve been living on the far planet Zarcon. By the way: In Campaign 2000, their evil work didn’t eliminate Gore—until the general election.

Mike Judge’s Idiocracy took us into the future, where an idiot cohort is ruling the earth. (Click here for a review of the newly-released DVD.) We discussed it with a reviewer’s husband just this very morning, as were munched away on our bagel. (Not a very good movie, he said.) But that “idiocracy” is already in place! They post their daft thoughts on page one of the Times—and their utter banality has evil outcomes, for you and for newly-born children.

Leibovich is weak and stupid—and he’s willing to scam your democracy.

REMEMBER THE RULES: By the strange rules of this fatuous cohort, every Big Dem is fake and phony. Again, to see this theme dumped onto Candidate Kerry, click the link we recommended above. At the Globe, they just luvved quoting Nixon as he called Kerry phony! But then, this theme is retooled now for every Big Dem—and, to the minds of this strange idiocracy, the way Big Dems “nod” seems to prove it.

BUMPED—PERHAPS UNTIL TOMORROW: Seven years later, Kevin Drum is half right. And: An evening of inane cable chatter shows Dems how this game is now played.