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Daily Howler: In effect, they're a criminal class. We have to learn how to describe them
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THE ONGOING WORK OF A CRIMINAL CLASS! In effect, they’re a criminal class. We have to learn how to describe them: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007

HAMSHER AND DIGBY GET IT RIGHT: The know-it-all class was in hog heaven, judging John and Elizabeth Edwards. At The Lake, Jane Hamsher hammered all-knowing Jay Carney. Later, Digby marveled at Joan Vennochi’s know-it-all stance in the Globe.

For ourselves, we liked Margaret Carlson’s know-it-all twofer the best. (Be sure to read the whole thing.) Good old Margaret! She knew all about what the Edwardses should do. For a bonus, she even explained what Hillary Clinton should have done in the late 1990s. Needless to say, John Edwards and Clinton turn out to be a pair of cold, phony fakes.

These are nasty, stupid people—transfer students from Salem Village. But then, they’re paid for these very traits. Read on; we have to learn how to describe this criminal class.

THE ONGOING WORK OF A CRIMINAL CLASS: Remember the key point: They simply don’t care. On Saturday, the SEIU had the good sense to sponsor a Democratic forum on health care. Seven White House candidates took part, including the current front-runners. Karen Tumulty capably hosted the forum; at Swampland, she outed the rest of her cohort. “I suspected that my colleagues in the press filing center weren't entirely thrilled at spending a Saturday in Las Vegas this way,” she wrote. And she said her suspicions were confirmed when she received this e-mail:

In the press file.
We have taken a vote.

We don't want to write about health care.

Please adjust accordingly.
[name withheld by Tumulty]
Poor babies! They didn’t want to write about health care! In a later post, Tumulty said that her e-mailer had been kidding. But for Democrats, there’s a long, painful history here: They didn’t want to write about health care back in October 1999, when Gore and Bradley debated the subject—so they wrote about Gore’s funny clothing instead. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/7/06.) And they didn’t want to write about health care in October 2000, when Gore challenged Bush about the Patients Bill of Rights—so they talked about how funny it sounded when Gore said “Dingell-Norwood.” (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/1/06.) In that year’s first—and crucial—Bush-Gore debate, the longest exchange concerned the way Bush misstated his own prescription drug plan. But the press corps didn’t want to talk about that, so they talked about Gore’s alleged sighing.

The history here is fairly clear; as a general matter, these people never want to write about health care—or about any serious topic. This time, they accessed their latest release as they fled, screaming, from their own inner tedium. Right at Swampland, Ana Marie Cox had already posted these musings:


She is in favor of universal health care (now) and thinks it could take as little as... eight years to get there. She did this weird thing where she walked around during the question time rather than sit and talk like a normal person. (Though now Kucinich is doing it, too. Uhm...) Also, apparently people are "drowning in paper," which sounds unpleasant.

She's more concrete than Obama but eerily LOUD.
No, you can’t get dumber than that. But inane comments about Clinton’s manner of speaking are now the rage with this fatuous “press corps.” She drawls! No, she shouts! No, her voice is too screechy! Avoidance of substance has long been their dream. Cox employed the latest way to avoid.

What did Clinton say about health care? Absent-mindedly, Cox didn’t say; instead, she complained that Clinton talked too loud and walked around too much. For content, she offered a bit of brainless snark about that eight-year timetable. But then, this has been the norm for a very long time when serious Dems try to talk about health care. Cox is more potty-mouthed than some of her peers—but like them, she is eerily DUMB.

Let’s explain what you’re getting when you’re handed such insulting blather. You’re surveying the work of a criminal class—a group of overpaid, store-bought clowns who are paid their fantastic salaries precisely because they’re reliably fatuous. When Time hired Cox to head its web site, the magazine knew what it was getting; it was getting the most fatuous person who has emerged in “press” circles in recent years—a “dirty girl” who proved her good faith by endlessly talking about butt-fucking and her own luscious body during her Wonkette tenure. Corporate owners hire the Coxes because they’re such fools—and routinely, they get what they’ve paid for.

Why don’t these ciphers care about health care? Duh! Because they already have it! Margaret Carlson explained it long ago, in that remarkable exchange with Don Imus. For them, this is “fun,” “entertainment” and “sport.” For you, they’re a criminal enterprise.

APPLE SAW COX FROM AFAR: For the record, when Elizabeth Dole “walked around” during her speech at the 1996 GOP convention, the mainstream press corps hailed her as a genius of mass communication. John Starr summarized the stupid blather in the Arkansas Democratic-Gazette:
STARR (8/20/06): By far the most outstanding performance at the 1996 Republican National Convention was that of Elizabeth Dole, wife of the presidential nominee.

With the aplomb of an Oprah Winfrey, Mrs. Dole took a hand-held microphone and went down into the audience to talk about her husband and to talk with others who loved him.

NBC'S Tom Brokaw, normally not very sympathetic to anything Republicans say or do, breathlessly called it "a gold-medal performance."

Other network commentators were almost as effusive.
At the New York Times, Johnny Apple knew who would pay the price for this. “Hillary Rodham Clinton is perhaps in the most difficult position of all,” he wrote on August 25, “because whatever she may do will inevitably be compared with the smash performance by Elizabeth Hanford Dole in her Oprah Winfrey role in San Diego.”

Sure enough! Eleven years later, Clinton walked around a bit—and Cox told us how damn-fool stupid it was. By the way: What did Clinton say about health care? Cox didn’t say—and doesn’t care. She was hired for playing the “dirty girl”—and for her steaming mindlessness.

A DOMESTIC CRIMINAL CLASS ON DISPLAY: Then too, you had the disgraceful Gloria Borger, clowning hard—but from her cohort’s script—on this weekend’s Chris Matthews Show. She was asked the usual, worthless question RE Gore. Try to believe where she took it:
MATTHEWS (3/25/07): Once again, we put it to the Matthews Meter. If Hillary Clinton falters by this fall—this coming fall—will Gore get in?...Glo, you say he goes.

BORGER: Yeah. (Nods head knowingly.) I think—I think he will. I think it was so wonderful to watch him on the Hill this week, looking very sporty—

[Fake, uproarious group laughter]



BORGER: —not looking like a senator, you know? He's wearing a checked shirt and a, sort of a different kind of a tie.
What did Gore say about global warming? As usual, Borger stuck to his clothes. By the way, Gore’s tie was solid blue; there was absolutely nothing “different” about it. For all that you can tell from the tape, it may have been the exact same tie he wore at the first Bush-Gore debate. But so what? Borger was working off a script. She’s a clown and a fake—a propagandist.

And yes, the uproarious laughter was also fake. Anyone who has watched this program over the years can see how its pundits have now been trained. In particular, O’Donnell has been remade by NBC in the past year (warmed up); she now laughs uproariously at any comment that is even mildly intended as humor. Anyone who has watched her over the years know this is not her natural conduct. But NBC is paying her millions—and she’s been told what to say, how to act.

Matthews is appallingly dishonest, but yesterday’s program really stood out for its ugly, scripted quality. For starters, here’s where the always gruesome Borger went as she her scripted remarks continued:
BORGER (continuing directly): I'm not one of you—the Democrats, most of them, welcomed him like the returning prophet—


BORGER: —except for one: Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: Did you watch her eyes?

BORGER: I did.

MATTHEWS: When she was—weren't those dead people’s eyes? That was the coldest look. No phony smile, nothing.

BORGER: It was not—let's just not say it was not welcoming your old friend.

MATTHEWS: “Good to see you, Al.”

BORGER: “Great to see you, Al, good to have you in the same room. And by the way, did you invent the Internet, too? I don't think so.”
It’s hard to know where to begin with this ugly conduct. But since Borger wasn’t present at the Gore hearing—and we were—let’s start with Sunday’s mendacious claims about Clinton’s eyes and smile.

As usual, Matthews was pimping his standard hate speech about what a cold, evil bitch Clinton is. Clinton had “dead people’s eyes,” he said. She gave Gore “the coldest look—no phony smile, nothing.” (This continued a claim he first made on Wednesday’s Hardball. Text below.) But readers, we were present at the Gore senate hearing, and we were struck by the warmth of the smile Clinton flashed at Gore and his wife when she came into the hearing. (The hearing had started when she arrived.) Of course, if you weren’t present—and Borger and Matthews weren’t—you’d have no way to know if this happened. But so what? Borger and Matthews belong to a millionaire criminal class. Simply put, they’ll lie to you and to your neighbors as simply as normal folk breathe.

Meanwhile, note where Borger took it next—to an imaginary conversation in which Clinton says something about “inventing the Internet!” This presaged with an ugly comment from Time’s Rick Stengel as the mindless chatter continued—after Matthews embarrassed himself with the requisite question about Gore’s weight:
MATTHEWS: Would he get in [the presidential race] with Hillary leading?


MATTHEWS: Boy, that's a—that's one I'm not sure of. I don't think he wants to get beaten by the Clintons again.

STENGEL: Well, that's—

BORGER: Right.

STENGEL: We've reported that he's very afraid of getting in, because he knows exactly how low the Clintons can fight.

O'DONNELL: Mm-hmm.

STENGEL: And he just doesn't want to go through with that again.

MATTHEWS: Oh, thank you for putting it that way, Richard!

HEALY: Yeah.
This group’s capacity for projection is astounding. After all, it wasn’t the Clintons who said Gore “invented the Internet;” it was them, the mainstream press corps! And it wasn’t the Clintons who “beat” Gore in Campaign 2000; it was them, the mainstream press corps, with their nasty, two-year War Against Gore—the war good careerists can never acknowledge. But so what? On Sunday, they imagined Clinton mocking Gore about the Net—and they said that Gore doesn’t want to run for the White House because the Clintons will play so dirty! But then, these are nasty, evil people. They exist to destroy your democracy. They are paid to dismantle your lives.

Read this program’s entire transcript and marvel at this cohort’s conduct. Needless to say, Matthews continues his endless insults against Clinton, calling her “Madame DeFarge” again. (Click here for an explication by Media Matters—from April 2005!) But especially note the way this group spins the U.S. attorney dispute. Why bother having a five-member panel? In the discussion of this matter, all five pundits echo the current GOP talking-points. They picture the Democrats pursuing this matter for partisan reasons alone; no other possible motive is mentioned. And they all agree that the Dems should be careful about taking this witch-hunt too far.

This is a nasty, criminal class. They’re determined to take apart your democracy. (Make no mistake: Jack Welch knew what he was getting when he hired his disordered boy.) And no, they don’t care about health care or warming. They already have excellent health care. Regarding warming, if their grandchildren die in the storm, they don’t care. In truth, their kind never will.

CLINTON AT THE HEARING: Let’s say it again: Matthews and Borger weren’t present at the Gore senate hearing. We were—and we were struck by the smile Clinton shot Gore as she slid into her chair.

No, Matthews wasn’t there to see it—but he and his house boy, David Schuster, were ready to start dissembling that evening. We don’t think Schuster was present either—but he knew what his master wanted, and that evening, he started to dish it:
SHUSTER (3/21/07): It was of course great political theater today, Chris....

And then there was Hillary Clinton and there is no sort of secret in Washington that Hillary Clinton and Al Gore don`t like each other very much. And it was noteworthy, Chris, that Hillary Clinton was all business. She sort of said welcome to the vice president—

MATTHEWS: She doesn’t like him, does she?

SHUSTER: No, and she immediately launched into talking about his ideas.
Really—too funny! Exhibit A for Clinton’s hatred was the fact that she talked about Gore’s ideas! And just like that, a cold, nasty man launched his typical hate speech:
MATTHEWS (continuing directly): Look at those eyes! Look at the cold eyes that she’s giving him, look at that cold look!

SHUSTER: And at one point she did say, you know, your ideas are exciting, this proposal is very interesting, but there was nothing personally warm at all in the interaction between Hillary and Al Gore.

MATTHEWS: Gore thinks that the Clintons screwed him, they humiliated the White House, they humiliated the party because of the president`s misbehavior. And Hillary got off scot-free, in fact, she benefitted as a victim, she looked like the poor victim of her husband`s misbehavior, whereas Gore looked like, you know, he was the bathtub ring left over by Clinton.
We were back to “the bath-tub ring,” Matthews’ favorite real-time insult! (During Campaign 2000, he called Gore “the bath-tub ring” more than 40 times.) The following night, this disordered man was wondering about Gore once again:
MATTHEWS (3/22/07): Welcome back to Hardball. We`re joined now by Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Michael Feldman, a former adviser to Al Gore. By the way, is Al Gore sharpening up his political blade now? He’s up there on the Hill. Is he going to lose some weight and make his move, or—

FELDMAN: You`re obsessed with his weight, Chris!

MATTHEWS: Because he weighs—he`s Raymond Burr!

FELDMAN: I thought he looked fantastic yesterday.

MATTHEWS: OK, I’m just asking.

FELDMAN: He is—he’s sharpening his blade for a campaign, but it’s a campaign about an issue, Chris, not a campaign for president.

MATTHEWS: OK. I guess I’m just at that street level of thinking that a politician might want to be president or something. What would made me think of that? He only ran 400 times!
As a matter of fact, Gore only ran twice. Matthews may have been thinking of the number of times he has lied about Gore in the past.

One final point about Wednesday’s hearing. Yes, Clinton smiled warmly at Gore as she entered. But we noticed something else at that hearing; we noticed that Clinton paid Gore the compliment of asking excellent, detailed questions “about his ideas.” (She clearly did the day’s best questioning.) Below, we offer the full transcript of the Clinton-Gore Q-and-As.

But first, note how cold Clinton was at the start. She was so cold to Gore—the man she hates—that she suggested bringing him back for further sessions before the committee:
BARBARA BOXER (3/21/07): Senator Clinton, you've been very patient. Thanks you.

CLINTON: Thank you very much. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful, and I want to thank Vice President Gore for taking his time to come back here to the Senate.

And perhaps, Madame Chairman, we could indulge upon him in the future to meet with those of us on both sides of the aisle who are interested in this issue, to perhaps go into some even greater detail on some of your proposals.

And of course I want to welcome Mrs. Gore as well.
Huh! Clinton was so cold to Gore (who she hates, of course) that she suggested bringing him back for more sessions! As you’ll see below, she restated this suggestion as she finished her questions. Schuster, of course, forgot to say this. Most likely, he didn’t know. He did know the shape of His Master's script. Like a puppy, he arfed it out faithfully.

The full Q-and-A, as Clinton asked Gore the best questions of the hearing:
CLINTON (continuing directly): I wanted to just ask for some further clarification on a couple of your proposals, which I find extremely intriguing. The first—to follow up on Senator Alexander, if there were a carbon-based tax, would there be a need for an economy-wide cap and trade system?

GORE: They are not either/or. We can do both. I am in favor of both. Many people discuss cap and trade and a CO2 tax, revenue-neutral CO2 tax swapping for employment taxes as if you have to pick one. As a practical political matter, there would be some people who would say only one of the above. I think the most effective approach is to do both.

CLINTON: Well, I would really appreciate, then, perhaps some clarification and additional information on your view as to how that worked—

GORE: All right.

CLINTON: —because of course there is a seeming either/or choice that people are presenting: either a cap and trade system, some of the advocates of which seem to think that it will be voluntary, which I find to be totally unacceptable. If it is mandatory economy-wide or sector-wide, I agree completely with you it needs to be economy-wide. But without the implementation and enforcement provisions being very well thought out, I'm afraid we will continue to just sort of move along at a slow pace.

Secondly, the Connie Mae proposal is also one that I also find very exciting, actually. I have worked with the City of Rochester and the surrounding county of Monroe County in New York to come up with a "green-print" using the advice and the expertise of the Green Building Council and, in effect, to try to encourage and incentivize contractors and engineers and architects and others to begin to think more green, and to use the technology and the efficiency standards.

How would the Connie Mae process work? Are you suggesting we actually create a federally chartered entity? And then what would its mission be precisely?

GORE: Yeah. A Carbon Neutral Mortgage Association that would, in the manner of Fannie Mae, take on these instruments that embody the expenditures not for the whole home, not for the whole building, but just for those expenditures that are directly related to the sharp—to the increasing energy efficiency.

Typically, homebuilders will look at what amount of insulation is going to make the home attractive in the marketplace, and they'll meet a standard that clears the market, but they won't go to the point where it really is energy—the most energy efficient home because it raises the purchase price.

Okay, this Connie—this national mortgage association could identify an increment that takes where the market has settled the price now, add the amount that reaches all the way to the maximum energy efficiency. The extra amount is put into an instrument that is amortized by the savings in the energy bills over the succeeding years. And they can bundle those with all of the other mortgage instruments that are in the market that year and they're tradeable commodities.

CLINTON: Well, I think that's a terrific idea, Mr. Vice President.

GORE: Thank you.

CLINTON: And would that also include the price of more energy-efficient appliances so that builders would be incentivized to use those in new homebuilding?

GORE: Not as it's currently designed. There's no reason why—I mean I think that structural features of the home are generally looked at in a different way from the appliances that come with the home. Some builders include them, some don't. And I'm not an expert on that. I see no reason why you could not also include extra-efficient appliance standards in that. I would have to think about it, but I don't see why you couldn't.

CLINTON: Well, in response to Senator Bond's questions which you didn't really get a chance to respond to, about the little girl with the two coats, isn't it also the case that if we went on a more targeted approach toward weatherization, efficiency, perhaps that little girl wouldn't need two coats even with current prices because the savings could be realized and the affordability of the energy costs could be decreased?

GORE: I think that's an excellent point, and I'll include that in the response for the record. (Chuckles.)

CLINTON: Again, I really want to thank the vice president. I want to thank the chairman for inviting Vice President Gore. And again, if we could perhaps indulge him with some additional time in the future, I think it could be very helpful.

GORE: Thank you.

CLINTON: Thank you.