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Daily Howler: Tucker and Willie are very stupid. But they're good Stasi boys, through and through
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BOB AND TUCKER AND WILLIE AND STASI! Tucker and Willie are very stupid. But they’re good Stasi boys, through and through: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2007

HILLARY CLINTON, MORE FULLY EVOLVED: Very bad news in today’s New York Times; Democratic voters seem to assume that a Dem will win the White House next year. Our guess? These people vastly underestimate the power of the “mainstream noise machine” to take down Major Dem hopefuls. They’ve been killing our candidates all the way back to Dukakis —and our “leaders” still refuse to discuss it. Will they succeed in their mission again next year? In part because of our utter dumbness, we’d guess that their chances are good. This is a very puzzling field. But surface logic to the side, we’ll guess that Republican chances are good.

How does the “mainstream noise machine” work? How do they manage to take down Dem hopefuls? For one example, consider this striking “news report” about ethanol subsidies in today’s Post. It’s a type of “report” which seems to appear in the Post and the Times every day now.

“Ethanol Undergoes Evolution as Political Issue,” says the headline at the top of the story. “Former Opponents Clinton, McCain Tout Its Benefits, but Its Campaign Value May Be Dropping.” In short, McCain and Clinton both opposed ethanol subsidies in the past —and each supports ethanol subsidies now. And their names appear side-by-side in that headline! But that’s where the parity ends.

Have Hillary Clinton and John McCain reversed their stands on ethanol subsidies? Yes, both hopefuls have done just that —but so freakin’ what? The giant photo atop this report features Clinton alone —not McCain. And Shailagh Murray’s 23-paragraph “news report” devotes 21 paragraphs to Clinton —and only two to Saint John McCain. They’re buried down inside his piece. Here’s his full treatment of Johnny:
MURRAY (3/13/07): McCain's reversal has been almost as dramatic as Clinton's. In a 1999 Des Moines debate, the senator bluntly said: "Ethanol is not worth it. It does not help the consumer. Those ethanol subsidies should be phased out."

Campaigning in Iowa last month, where he is trailing GOP candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, McCain told voters: "We need energy independence. We need it for a whole variety of reasons, and obviously ethanol is a big part of that equation."
Those are paragraphs 11 and 12 (of 23) —and they comprise Murray’s only mention of McCain. The rest of the piece is All About Clinton —all about her “dramatic” reversal. For the record, Murray doesn’t seem to have interviewed Clinton (or any spokesman) about the reasons for her reversal; he only quotes from the public record, and he quotes a bit selectively. Meanwhile, what should we think about her reversal? Murray offers some help early on —straight from the RNC:
MURRAY (pghs 1-3): What's the closest thing in politics to a religious experience? The ethanol conversion.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) experienced one in May of last year. Long opposed to federal support for the corn-based biofuel, she reversed herself and endorsed even bigger ethanol incentives than she previously voted against. Now running for president, Clinton is promoting a $50 billion strategic energy fund, laden with more ethanol perks.

Political opponents depict Clinton's about-face as pandering to Iowa Democrats, who will cast the first votes of the 2008 nominating season. When the senator made her first trip to Iowa in January, the Republican National Committee circulated a synopsis of her ethanol record, awash with "no" votes. "A Calculating Clinton Flips on Ethanol to Score a Run with Iowa Voters," the headline read.
Huh! Hillary Clinton is “calculating,” the RNC helpfully said! Murray, a helpful fellow himself, made sure that Post readers got that hint at the start of his helpful “news report.”

Hillary Clinton may be “calculating!” But readers, what about Saint John McCain? Has McCain been “calculating” on this matter too? We’re never invited to wonder about that. Again, Murray gives McCain only two paragraphs —and he tells us, without any explanation, that McCain’s reversal on ethanol has been less “dramatic.” But what could possibly make that claim true? In fact, during Campaign 2000, McCain refused to compete in the Iowa caucuses to show how strongly he felt about ethanol! Now, he’s working hard in the Hawkeye State —helped along by his new stand. It would be hard to imagine a reversal which was much more “dramatic” than that —but Murray doesn’t burden his readers with knowledge of McCain’s past conduct. And, as he details Clinton’s past votes on ethanol, he absent-mindedly forgets to tell us how McCain voted on the same measures. Did a certain saint cast the very same votes? Absent-mindedly, Murray doesn’t say.

The headline of this article claims that Clinton and McCain have evolved on this issue. But the large photo shows us only one face —and the “news report” tilts 21-2 in favor of one solon’s evolution. What explains this puzzling imbalance? We have no way of knowing the motives (if any) of Murray, or of his editors. But Democratic voters are very stupid if they think a win next year is assured. The press corps’ “mainstream noise machine” has savaged our hopefuls in just this manner, going all the way back to Dukakis. There’s no reason to think that this mainstream machine won’t have its way next year.

Eight years ago, this mainstream machine ran a two-year war which sent Bush to the White House. Our “leaders” have politely failed to discuss that —and our voters are ripe for new slaughter.

NOTHING TO LOOK AT: Murray goes into chapter and verse, citing the votes that Clinton cast before her “dramatic reversal.” But when did McCain make his reversal? How did he vote on those same measures? Funny —the Post has never told us! On April 14, 2006, Dan Balz was still reporting the following, during a McCain trip to Iowa: “McCain found a way to speak positively about ethanol, despite his continued opposition to the subsidies that support it.” Four months later, the Post’s Glenn Frankel reported this —halfway through an 7000-word magazine profile of McCain:

FRANKEL (8/27/06): McCain emphasizes his solid conservative voting record —he's antiabortion, anti-gun control, pro-death penalty, and he favors cutting back the size and reach of the federal government, with the vehement exception of the Pentagon. He has switched his stand on ethanol, which he once derided as a boondoggle but now says makes sense, given the fact that gasoline exceeds $3 a gallon. He has voted to extend tax cuts that he once opposed. All of this is either called pandering or bridge-building, depending on your point of view.
The reversal had occurred! But all it got was that one sentence, halfway through an endless profile! Today, Clinton’s reversal gets the full monty. And a saint —a saint who also evolved —rates a meager two paragraphs.

But then, this is the way these evil people have mocked your “democracy” for the past fifteen years. And your liberal “leaders,” to this day, politely refuse to discuss this. They love to talk about O’Reilly —about a “right-wing” noise machine. In so doing, they’re leaving you ripe for the slaughter —unsure who to fight. The War Party may win again yet.

WE TAKE A FEW GUESSES: Endlessly, Clinton is being treated this way by the “mainstream noise machine.” Like the RNC, they love to tell us how “calculating” she is —while absent-mindedly forgetting to extent the analysis to others. We’ll offer a couple of guesses:

First guess: We have no idea about Murray’s motives, if any. (Though we might as well say it. Good God. We Irish!) But we’ll offer this guess about the RNC. They are currently working to take out Clinton because they think she’d be the toughest to beat in the general election.

Second guess: We’ll guess that they think Obama is easy —that they could make him a second Dukakis fairly easily if he gets the nod. (None of this is an attempt on our part to state these candidates’ merits.)

Third guess: We’ll guess that many in the “net roots” are willing to let Clinton be treated this way. We’ll guess that these wizened souls think this: We’ll be able to rise up and stop the machine when Obama or Edwards is nominated. We’ll guess that such thinking is very foolish, if such thinking exists.
But make no mistake —all around us, a mainstream noise machine is peddling attacks against Candidate Clinton. Last night, they made us think of a lost, foreign world —a world which has grown over here.

BOB AND TUCKER AND WILLIE AND STASI: Last Thursday, we marveled at Bob Novak’s brilliant mind-reading (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/8/07). The brilliant seer had plumbed the souls of those who sat on the Libby jury. Try to believe that the following garbage actually appeared in the Post:
NOVAK (3/8/07): Denis Collins, a Washington journalist on the Scooter Libby jury, described sentiments in the jury room reflecting those in the Senate Democratic cloakroom: "It was said a number of times. . . .Where's Rove? Where are these other guys?" Besides presidential adviser Karl Rove, he surely meant Vice President Cheney and maybe President Bush. Oddly, the jurors appeared uninterested in hearing from Richard Armitage, the source of the CIA leak. [Novak’s deletion]
Collins had looked for “these others guys.” Somehow, Novak knew that meant Cheney and Bush —and that it didn’t mean Armitage. But uh-oh! On Sunday, Collins extended his fifteen minutes, writing a piece for the Post “Outlook” section. Who had the jurors wanted to see? Here he is, in his own words:
COLLINS (3/11/07): One juror opened things up by declaring, "I think they're lying. Every one of them." A few others were frustrated that we had only Libby to consider. We knew from testimony that Armitage and Karl Rove were the first ones to divulge Plame's name and occupation to reporters. One juror asked, "Where are Rove and Armitage? Weren't they the ones who leaked it first?" That remark was answered with "Amen." Another juror said that Libby took the hit for Cheney, his former boss. But we kept reminding one another that we had been tasked with deciding only Libby's guilt or innocence.
When Collins gave his first-person account, the first “other guy” he mentioned was Armitage. And no, he never mentioned Bush. But then, Novak’s column was always pure bull-sh*t —a blatant attempt to pimp a preferred script. Bob Novak had typed the bull-sh*t up. And Fred Hiatt put the bull-sh*t in print.

Yes, when Hiatt put Novak’s work into print, he was letting him print propaganda. But then, so too with yesterday’s Novak column, in which he pimped another prize theme —Hillary Clinton is reinventing herself. Novak wrote it; Hiatt published it; and soon, Tucker Carlson was loudly braying it, right at the start of his Stasi-like program. Who but a hand-picked, ruling-class boy could be quite so stupid —and scripted?
CARLSON (3/12/07): But first, another poignant development in the Hillary Clinton for president campaign. Earlier this month, Clinton gave a speech to a primarily black audience in Selma, Alabama, in which she recounted that while a high school student back in 1963, she strongly supported Martin Luther King.

It sounds good, except that as Bob Novak points out in a column this morning, Hillary Clinton wrote in her own memoirs that she supported Barry Goldwater for president the following year. It wouldn’t have been unreasonable to support Martin Luther King in 1963, and it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to support Barry Goldwater in 1964. But both of them at the same time? That doesn’t make sense.

In fact, Goldwater was one of the few Republicans, one of six to join segregationist Democrats in opposing the ’64 Voting Rights Act, which was, of course, inspired and championed by Martin Luther King himself. Backing both King and Goldwater is a little like campaigning for both Kerry and Bush. Or, for that matter, Hillary and Giuliani.

It’s like smoking pot but not inhaling. In other words, it’s phony, and it’s also insulting in the way that inept pandering always is insulting.

More than anything, it’s sad. Here’s a person who wants to be president, wants it badly, but doesn’t even know who she is, or worse, doesn’t want to tell us who she is.
The hand-picked boy got his Stasi-points in. Hillary Clinton doesn’t know who she is! The line comes straight from the mainstream press corps’ War Against Gore —the two-year war we “idiot liberals” still haven’t told the public about. But then, Novak’s key point had also come straight from that mainstream press corps war. Clinton is “reinventing her past,” Novak said. Yep! That’s from the War on Gore too.

What was wrong with young Carlson’s analysis? Well heck —just start with his opening paragraph! In Selma, Clinton “recounted that while a high school student back in 1963, she strongly supported Martin Luther King,” the scrub-faced tribune of your rulers told his viewers. But Clinton didn’t make any such claim —although the claim may be true, as far as any such claim can be. In fact, Clinton was only 15 years old when she heard Dr. King speak in Chicago. Was she a “strong supporter” of King at that age? She made no such claim in Selma. Could a 15-year-old have “supported” Goldwater and King at the same time? Of course she could have, although Carlson and Novak were both intent on telling you different. (For what it’s worth, the non-racist Goldwater didn’t oppose equal treatment of blacks. He did oppose federal remedies.)

Novak’s column was full of insinuation and spin. (Omigod! How he tortured his account of Clinton’s commencement address at Wellesley!) But Hiatt, a very good Stasi man, published his garbage again anyway. And Carlson was there, just a few hours later, having a major cow on cable. Indeed, Carlson and his scrub-cheeked frat boy, Willie Geist, were in rare form throughout last night’s program. The boys look Aryan —and they act it! They know how to please the ruling tribes —the tribes who now run your society.

First, Carlson howled about the way Clinton doesn’t even know who she is (misstating what she had said to “prove” this). Soon after, he had a second cow, this time about the way Clinton compared her attempt to be the first female president to Kennedy’s attempt to be the first Catholic. (“Mirror, mirror on the wall, apparently Hillary Clinton needs to clean her mirrors because she thinks she`s the John F. Kennedy of 2007,” the stupid, trained boy loudly said.) And at the end of the hour, he and Geist joined forces for a super-dumb trashing of Gore:
GEIST: Finally, Tucker, you really have to give it to Al Gore for shooting high. First, he set out to save the planet, now he says he is ready to save democracy. And thank goodness. The former vice-president was in Great Britain today, in part to promote his interactive television channel, Current TV. He says his channel democratizes the medium, that is controlled by a few media moguls and their points of view.

Gore went on to compare himself to Johann Gutenberg, saying, quote, “Before the printing press, if you wanted to be a writer, you had to be a monk. Modern democracy really came about in the wake of that communications revolution.” Next, Tucker, he will turn water into wine.

CARLSON: You know what, I would not count him out. Judging what he has done to his hair —somehow, he regained huge amounts of hair in just the last three years —maybe he is capable of miracles.

GEIST: I think Doctor Bosly and his hair plugs are the miracle worker in that case, but apparently MSNBC, we are aiming a little too low. We`re not saving democracy. We`re just targeting younger viewers. Maybe we should be shooting higher.

Maybe they should be shooting higher? Try to make an ounce of sense out of Geist’s account of what Gore said. And that was only the start for these losers! These stupid boys went straight from Geist’s impossibly stupid paraphrase to worried thoughts about Gore’s troubling hair. Maybe they should be shooting higher? If these boys went on the air and read a bus schedule, they’d be raising the level of their work. If they auditioned for Beavis and Butthead, they’d be sent home as too dumb.

Yes, these clear-eyed boys are exceptionally stupid. But they’re also very good Stasi boys. Why is Stasi on our minds? Last night, after watching Tucker and Willie, we went to see The Lives of Others, a look inside the culture that had been created by Stasi by the final years of the GDR. And omigod! Having just watched Tucker and Willie, we were struck by how similar this Stasi-world was to the regime under which we now suffer. Yes, the dynamics of social control were quite different. But in each case, a group of exceptionally stupid men and boys had seized substantial control of a culture. And as with Bob and Tucker and Willie, so too with the men and boys of Stasi! In The Lives of Others, a group of exceptionally stupid men sit about all day, looking for ways to make up stories about better people, whom they happen to hate. In the GDR, they pimped their tales to the secret police; our boys pimp their concocted tales straight to the public. But the similarities are quite clear. We’ll suggest that you watch Tucker and Willie some afternoon, then go out and take in this film. Yep! Take a look at Tucker and Willie. Then check the East German police.

Late in the film, the GDR finished, a German artist who had been pursued spoke to the Stasi man who pursued him. To think,” he says to this empty-souled thing, “that people like you once ruled this country.” When he said that, w thought of the stupid boys who we’d seen just a few hours earlier. Tucker and Willie are exceptionally stupid. But they’re fine Stasi boys, through and through.

AND KEITH WILL NEVER TELL YOU: Keith, of course, will never tell you. Here he was, with the idiot Milbank, discussing the inane but widely-burgeoning complaints about Clinton’s comment on Kennedy:
OLBERMANN (3/12/07): Senator Clinton compared the historic importance of the first female president possibility to the historic importance of the first Catholic president and is then accused in a place like the New York Post of saying that she thought she was the JFK of 2008. Is there some journalistic hypocrisy there? Or am I reading too much into that?

MILBANK: I never believed a Murdoch publication capable of hypocrisy.

OLBERMANN: Or of journalism.
Good boy! He complained about the New York Post, ignoring the fact that Clinton had been savaged for this same “transgression” on his own station, just two hours earlier. (David Gregory had also worriedly brought up Clinton’s statement, guest hosting on Hardball one hour earlier.) But that’s Keith! He’ll always say that the problem is Mr. O —and the New York Post.

He’s paid (a lot!) to be a good boy. And he knows where all the bright lines are. By the way, don’t expect him to tell you about Milbank’s Post. You see, the Washington Post is Keith’s “corporate partner.” The partnership pays the bills for those spring training trips —and you others can all go to hell.

TOMORROW: A Tale of Two Speeches, Part 4.