SHE HASNT HEARD! Sensible citizens still dont grasp the shape of our gong-show discourse: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2007
OUR SERIES EXPANDS: Weve been a bit sick in the past two days (toothache again!), and we want to do our subject full justice. So were expanding A tale of two speeches a tad. An unexpected Part 2 appears below. Tooth-fairy willing, Part 3 will appear Monday morning.
WONDERFUL CLOWNISTRY: Simply put, theres nothing Chris Matthews wont do and say to promote his throwback social preferences. On last nights Hardball, he said the following about Hillary Clinton. He kept a straight face as he did:
MATTHEWS (3/8/07): Here`s my theory. My theory is that men are rooting around for a reason to be against Hillary, and theyre going to spend the next year trying to find out why they want to be against her because they want to be against her. And theyre looking for reasons to be for Rudy. I think people always try to figure out how they can sell the guy they want to sell. They want Rudy to be a hero because they want a hero like Rudy. And they have this problem with Hillary, and I cant quite figure it out. But it seems to be emerging and I cant explain it.Wonderful! Of course, when they came right back, none of those guests told Hardball viewers that Matthews has just performed wonderful clownistry. We think you know the rules of this tribe. If you want to be on Hardball again, you have to behave while youre there.
Poor Chris! He thinks men have this problem with Hillary, but he cant quite figure out what it is! Could it be that Clinton seems like a strip-teaser, the insult Chris dumped on her in December? Could it be that they think shes an uppity woman, the insult he dumped on her twice the next month—even pretending he was quoting her husband? In short, Matthews has dumped a nasty stream of gender-based insults on Clinton. Then, he turns to the camera and says that he cant figure out this bad problem she has among men.
Jack Welch knew what he was getting when he went out and purchased this empty-souled m*ck. But our liberal leaders still dont discuss this—they want to be on Hardball too—and that produces the problem we found in a letter to the Washington Post.
What happens when liberal leaders wont speak? Keep reading.
Special report: A tale of two speeches!
PART 2—SHE HASNT HEARD: Theres amazing material in this mornings big papers—Paul Krugmans column in the Times; this remarkable Washington Post report about the way the Bush Admin keeps doctoring data; Dana Milbanks latest foolishness (well plan to return to his work next week); Gregg Easterbrooks New York Times op-ed column, in which the lad complains about the way Al Gore wag[s] his finger about the energy uses of others. (Have you seen Gore do that?)
But for our money, the most striking thing in todays papers is a letter to the Post from Alexandrias Jane Hilder. (As we post, no link has been provided.) We dont normally use the names of letter-writers, but Hilder has written a very sensible letter—and she is a victim of fifteen years of criminal conduct by our liberal leadership. Heres the letter she sent to the Post. Hilder is a sensible person—and she deserves much better treatment from those who would claim to be leaders:
LETTER TO THE WASHINGTON POST (3/9/07): What continues to surprise me about the Lewis Libby-Valerie Plame case is that those leaking information in the Bush administration thought the fact that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was married to someone in the CIA was important enough to leak in violation of national security rules.Being a perfectly sensible person, Hilder is surprised to think that the Bush Admin would bother leaking the fact that Plame worked at the CIA. After all, Hilder writes, Joe Wilsons competence did not seem to be in question; he was well connected in Niger, and qualified to make his trip. Because Wilson was qualified for his mission, Hilder says, [t]he American people would not have cared that [his] wife worked at the CIA.
We agree with most of what Hilder says. Beyond that, though, we think Hilder completely fails to understand the nature of our modern gong-show public discourse. This type of discourse has driven our politics for the past fifteen years. Its the discourse our leaders wont discuss.
Why would the Bush Admin want to leak the fact that Plame played some role in Wilsons selection? In fairness, this information was slightly newsworthy; in sending Wilson, the CIA sent someone who was closely connected to the agency—someone who understood the agencys view of the matter in question. In Wilsons own book, he writes at some length about the way public servants try to avoid nepotism or any appearance of it (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/11/05). All things being equal, it would have been better if the CIA had sent someone who wasnt so closely tied to the office which sent him. In fact, some of the American people did care that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. They did wonder about the appearance of nepotism; they wondered if Wilson came back with a prefab conclusion, one his wifes office wanted to hear. Some Democrats would have responded this way if the shoes had been on other feet. These reactions stem from the type of appearance Wilson says public servants should avoid.
That said, Wilson was, in fact, fully qualified for his trip. Like Hilder, we have always assumed he performed his mission in good faith; beyond that, we assume the conclusions he drew were accurate (although theyre frequently misdescribed, even now). And its true: Many of the American people would not have cared that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. (Most of the American people dont follow stories like this.) Why then did the Bush Admin want to leak the connection to Plame? Hilder is a sensible person. And alas! For precisely that reason, she seems to have no idea how our modern gong-show politics works.
Why did the Bush Admin want to leak the Plame connection? The connection is irrelevant and trivial, Hilder says. But over the course of the past fifteen years—perhaps since the takedown of Michael Dukakis—our gong-show national discourse has constantly turned on the trivial and the irrelevant. Hilder doesnt seem to understand this key fact. But then, which of our worthless liberal leaders has ever deigned to tell her?
Wilsons connection to Plame was trivial? Here at THE HOWLER, we largely agree—but thats why the Bush Admin wanted to leak it! It was like calling attention to Hillarys drawl—or to the number of buttons on Gores troubling suits. The RNC has spent the bulk of the past twenty years leaking trivia about Major Dems, and the practice has worked out brilliantly for them. Our modern media are endlessly willing to repeat and parrot these streams of trivial misdirection; indeed, this has become the principal way the RNC controls our public discourse. The RNC prefers to traffic in trivia—in part, because the Antoinettes of our millionaire press corps prefer to wallow in trivia too. To state the obvious, this is the way George Bush got elected—and Jane Hilder still hasnt heard.
Omigod! Jane Hilder still thinks like a rational person! No one has ever stood up and told her that her nations public discourse has long been a gong show. No, that isnt an obvious fact, if youre a sensible person like Hilder. In fact, sensible people will never understand this matter—until people in leadership tell them.
Which brings us back to our liberal leaders—and to Hillarys drawl in that Selma speech. This past Monday morning, we rolled our eyes when we heard a local talk radio host calling attention to Hillarys drawl—courtesy of the doctored tape which was being used to make the case. But it should hardly have been a major surprise when this was all over cable Monday night—or when Democratic strategists fumbled and flailed trying to deal with the onslaught.
Indeed, an earlier speech—a speech by Al Gore—was gong-showed in much this same manner. Gore gave the speech on a Tuesday in June 1999; it was his formal campaign kick-off speech. And by that weekend, a long stream of mainstream pundits were making a remarkable, bogus claim about it. But eight years later, Jane Hilder still hasnt heard that this is the way modern politics works. A group of weak boys in our leadership roles still havent managed to tell her.
Eight years later, they still dont mention what happened to Gore (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/8/07). (Or to Bill Clinton, for that matter.) On the rare occasions when they do, they misstate what happened—by half!
For us, this week was a grinding tale of two speeches—one speech by Clinton, and that old speech by Gore. Well lay out the connection in Part 3, on Monday. But people like Hilder wont see that connection until our liberal leaders explain it (many times). They fumbled and bumbled on cable this week, as they constantly do at these junctures. Their conduct is little short of criminal—unless you dont care about people like Hilder, or about those who will die in the lunatic war we get into after Iraq—after the loathsome Matthews puts his next regular person into the White House.