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Daily Howler: The analysts chuckled as the coven found a new standard of probity
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IDIOT AMERICA/KAMEN EDITION! The analysts chuckled as the coven found a new standard of probity: // link // print // previous // next //

The clan supporting the clan: This morning, Christina Brown anchored First Look, MSNBC’s early-morning news show. Near the end of the half hour, the clan defended the clan.

What follows is not an exact quote, but it comes pretty close. Repeat: First Look is a news broadcast. Brown is the program’s anchor:

BROWN (6/10/09): Apparently, Sarah Palin thinks she shouldn’t have to go through the same kind of late-night ribbing everyone else goes through.

Who knows? Brown may have been reading script which rolled up on the prompter. But at MSNBC, this was someone’s idea of a “news report” about Letterman’s latest top jokes.

Letterman isn’t at NBC any more—but he’s still part of the clan. He’s also a familiar figure in our culture. He’s the smelly, 62-year-old coot who never arranged to grow up.

Boys like Letterman never grow up. Inside their brains, hard wires keep telling them to aim naughty jokes at 14-year-old girls—and to refer to women as “slutty.” The Greenwich guy did it again Monday night. People like this never stop.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this whole syndrome is the way the “liberal” world has accepted it.

During the 1990s, the liberal world ran off and hid in the woods, hoping that pseudo-conservative rule would come to an end by itself. (If liberals complained, their careers could be damaged! You would have kept quiet too.) For that reason, its toleration of smutty misogyny aimed at Hillary Clinton just seemed like part of the deal. (When the press corps spent a month aiming smut at Naomi Wolf, only Kristol and Safire responded.) But in this decade, a larger pattern has become rather clear: There is no “sexual politics” in the progressive world. Not a discernible morsel.

In fairness, gender-trashing is deeply hard-wired. At some point in the future, race and racism will be things of the past—but some smelly old loser will be on some stage banging away at teen-age girls. Will they steal their jokes from Keith and Dave? Won’t have to! Such jokes flow like rain.

This wiring exists all over the world. In this morning’s Post, Blaine Harden authors a superb news report about the way this wiring still expresses itself, even today, in a much less liberal culture. In our culture, smelly old losers stand up and tell jokes. In China, the lads remain much more free to act on their deepest perceptions. (We strongly recommend Harden’s report. Note the way the women in question “receive abundant food”—if they don’t complain.)

At any rate, there was Brown, banging away at Sarah Palin this morning. (Palin had complained.) In David Letterman’s smelly old world, Sarah Palin was slutty—and Willow Palin, age 14, had gotten herself knocked up by A-Rod. Result? In the world of Brown’s “news report,” Sarah Palin wasn’t willing to take the same kind of “ribbing” everybody else has to take.

The liberal world has accepted this crap every single step of the way. But then, that world doesn’t really exist. Watching tape, you hear liberal laughter at Letterman’s joke. It’s just the clan supporting the clan—in thrall to our oldest hard-wiring.

So you’ll know: Sarah Palin attended that Yankees game with her daughter Willow, who is fourteen. Smelly old men always seem to know just where to take things from there.

IDIOT AMERICA/KAMEN EDITION: It’s less “important” than some other work in our major newspapers today. But to get a taste of the way the “press corps” has shaped the news of the past twenty years, we recommend Al Kamen’s “In the Loop” column this morning.

For many years now, Kamen has been “in the loop” at the Washington Post—and strategically out of his mind. On December 24, 1999, he achieved a real milestone; he became the first columnist to attack the character of a major presidential candidate on the basis of the photographic process used in the candidate’s Christmas card. The candidate, of course, was Al Gore; predictably, the family photograph helped Kamen see how fake and phony Gore really was. In fairness, Kamen was simply enacting the sick, history-changing war his coven had unloosed at that time.

See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/24/99. Happy with how that turned out?

It took a special kind of hack to extend a phony character war to the family photograph on the Gores’ Christmas card. We were struck again today by certain aspects of Kamen’s new column.

Today, Kamen notes that Obama has assigned ambassadorial posts to some big fund-raisers. Here’s the way he starts:

KAMEN (6/10/09): President Obama has been taking flak of late for giving fat-cat donors cushy ambassadorial posts. Despite some early signals that merit—knowledge of the local language, culture or region, or perhaps foreign policy experience—might play a role in determining who gets those jobs, big donors and bundlers seem to have grabbed the lion's share of the most coveted spots.

The British and Japanese press have been most put out by the choices being sent their way—former investment banker Louis B. Susman and Silicon Valley lawyer John V. Roos, respectively. (It probably didn't help that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs quipped that Susman's qualification is that "he speaks English.")

Are Susman and Roos good choices for these posts? We have no idea. But each has been a big Democratic donor and/or fund-raiser. This chart accompanies Kamen’s piece. If Kamen’s facts are accurate, Susman “contributed or raised” $735,000 “for Democratic candidates during the three previous election cycles.” Roos’ total was $545,000.

All that is fair enough. But we had to chuckle at the comparison Kamen built into his piece. Our most recent past president disappears—and look which president now becomes the standard for financial probity:

KAMEN: But a comparison of Obama's early picks with President Clinton's, for example, indicates substantial differences between the two Democrats. Clinton tended to pick people with experience in public policy—if not international policy—for the important embassies. His big donors were generally given jobs in smaller countries in eastern or northern Europe where they could do little lasting harm.

Without attempting to explain, Kamen disappears the most recent past president, choosing instead to compare Obama with President Clinton. And too funny! Kamen’s coven pretended, all through the Clinton-Gore years, that Vile Corrupt Clinton was up to his ears in financial conflicts of interest. This morning, without a word of explanation, Clinton has re-emerged—as the standard for fund-raising probity.

Go ahead—look at that chart. Listing a dozen major countries, Kamen compares Clinton’s ambassadors with those picked by Obama. Clinton’s picks hardly gave any dough. By way of contrast, six of Obama’s picks gave minor boatloads. We found this comparison highly ironic, for the following reasons:

For years, Kamen’s coven kept insisting that Clinton’s fund-raising was corrupt—that virtually everything was up for sale, given the president’s corrupt love of cash. In the case of the Lincoln Bedroom, the coven faked especially hard—and no one embarrassed itself more than Kamen’s own newspaper. In one especially sad example, the Post belatedly added Chelsea’s Clinton’s slumber party guests to the list of Lincoln Bedroom overnight guests, thereby driving up the numbers and heightening the sense that the Clintons had been misbehaving. It’s hard to get much sicker than that, but Kamen’s coven was up to the task. A few years later, Kamen himself reviewed a Christmas card—on Christmas Eve! He thought he saw character problems.

Without going into obsessive detail, more than a decade has passed since we heard—and heard, and heard, then heard some more—about Bill Clinton’s vile corruption when it came to campaign fund-raising. (We also heard the coven’s gong-show tales about that Buddhist temple.) More than a decade has passed—and have you seen anyone do any work on all the corruption this coven alleged? By now, the coven has had plenty of time to detail and document its big loud-mouthed charges. Have you see anyone produce the book—or even the magazine piece—which documents the way Bill Clinton actually sold off the White House?

Funny—we haven’t seen that work either! Employing normal analytical standards, we would guess the reason for the coven’s silence is clear. And that’s one reason why we chuckled at Kamen’s latest gong-show. Suddenly, Vile Clinton’s the standard for fund-raising probity! Looking back, the coven can see how upright this man really was!

That’s one reason why we mordantly chuckled. The other reason involves George Bush, our most recent past president.

What kinds of money did Bush’s ambassadors raise? We have no idea—though we have to chuckle a bit at Kamen’s non-discussion. (For the record, the role of big money in campaigns has changed a bit since the days of Bill Clinton. A comparison of Obama to Bush would likely make more sense than the one Kamen has authored.) But there’s an obvious reason why the coven might want to skip past Bush in this discussion.

According to Kamen, Britain and Japan are the two big countries at the heart of the current alleged dispute. And in the past decade, the coven has spent a lot of time and effort avoiding any and all discussion of Bush’s top man in Japan. We refer to the most recent U.S. ambassador to Japan, Tom Schieffer.

As far as we know, Schieffer was a thoroughly competent ambassador to Japan—and to Australia, the ambassadorial post he held before moving to Tokyo. But Schieffer’s name wasn’t pulled from a hat by President Bush—and he wasn’t picked for these major posts because of his ambassadorial experience. Schieffer had never served in such vineyards. He had been Bush’s long-time business partner, a co-owner with Bush of the Texas Rangers.

Schieffer had no ambassadorial experience when Bush sent him to Australia in 2001. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, and we assume he served well in the post. But in the past decade, the coven has struggled to avoid discussing Bush’s selection of Schieffer for a fairly obvious reason—Schieffer’s brother is CBS strongman Bob Schieffer. That’s right! Bob Schieffer—the long-time friend of Bush who weirdly trashed Gore during Campaign 2000, then (incredibly) served as moderator of one of the Bush-Kerry debates in 2004.

The coven has worked rather hard, down through the years, to avoid discussing these connections. We chuckled, therefore, when we saw Japan at the heart of Kamen’s discussion—with Bush’s choice oddly disappeared.

In fairness, Bob Schieffer has sometimes discussed his friendship with Bush—sometimes, but not very often. Example: In 2003, Howard Kurtz included this in a profile of Bob Schieffer, the president’s old spring training pal:

KURTZ (1/13/03): During the ’90s, [Bob] Schieffer also struck up a friendship with George W. Bush when his brother Tom—now the U.S. ambassador to Australia—became partners with the future president in the Texas Rangers. Bob and W. went to ball games together, played golf, attended spring training. “He’s a great guy—that doesn’t mean I agree with him,” says Schieffer, adding that the situation became “a little awkward” when Bush ran for the White House but that he’s never gotten favorable treatment.

Bob Schieffer is fairer and saner than many TV stars who play the game at his multimillionaire level. But this was a striking conflict of interest. It’s the kind of human interest story the coven likely would have enjoyed—if it had involved someone who wasn’t part of their clan.

To this day, very few voters have ever heard about the family/friendship ties between Bob Scheiffer and George Bush—Bob Schieffer, the old spring training buddy who moderated one of his buddy’s debates during Campaign 04. Hacks like Kamen enforce that ignorance. Intentionally or otherwise, the pattern continues this morning.

This morning, Bill Clinton emerges as a symbol of financial probity. Tom Schieffer remains undiscussed.

Final point: We would compare the silence surrounding Schieffer and Bush to one other, larger press story. That is the highly comical, endlessly disappeared story about GE chairman Jack Welch and his hapless and store-bought “Lost Boys.”

In that story, a major conservative business mogul hired a “home boy” East Coast Irish Catholic work-force for one of our biggest news orgs (NBC News and its cable arm). He stationed Tim Russert at Meet the Press; he made Chris Matthews the face of cable. He signed Brian Williams as Brokaw’s replacement. Barnicle was the frequent guest host; Buchanan was the go-to analyst. The network had so many O’Donnells, they got their own page in the phone book.

By total coincidence, the Lost Boys endlessly trashed Clinton and Gore, while talking up Bush’s quite evident brilliance. The comedy came when two of these store-bought hacks bought multimillion-dollar homes on Nantucket to be nearer to Welch, their Big He. If this had happened in some other sector, the press corps would have laughed and laughed—and measured square feet and purchase prices. But no! To this day, it remains the most untold journalistic personnel tale of the past twenty years.

Of course, “liberals” didn’t tell this story either! Good God, but our tribe-mates are hacks!