WITH LIBERAL CONSENT! Were dying beneath a nameless press culture. This is happening with liberal consent: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011
Challenging Vitters accusers: In fairness, David Vitters fall from grace was somewhat different from Anthony Weiners. As far as anyone could tell, Vitters conduct had ended a few years earlier. He didnt produce a week of egregious lying on TV, as Weiner did last week.
That said, Vitter did business with the so-called D.C. Madamand this involved illegal conduct! People who like to fling poo all about certainly could have done so. But on Hardball, the egregious chimp Chris Matthews barely mentioned Vitters fall. When he did, he sympathized with poor David Vitter, who had been on his show before.
To review Matthews refusal to fling his poo all around, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/9/11. That said, guest host Mike Barnicle discussed the Vitter matter at some length on Hardball that week. We thought you might want to see what happened on this cable show when Vitter did get discussed.
Barnicle guest-hosted for Matthews on Thursday, July 12, 2007 and on Friday, July 13; Vitters fall had come to light on Monday of that week. Near the end of the Thursday program, Barnicle mentioned Vitters fallbut as you can easily see, no one screeched or hollered or yelled about his sexy-time conduct. (To read the full transcript, click here.) In this passage, Barnicle spoke with Jim Matthews (Chris Matthews Republican brother) and with Ezra Klein:
Everyone agreed! In those very serious times, it was obscene to be so obsessed with sex scandals! And needless to say, this provided a chance to bring in the snide against Bill Clinton. (At this point, Hardball hadnt yet been repurposed as a basically liberal/Democratic program, as it generally is today, though Matthews was working hard to defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.)
For ourselves, we largely agree with the sentiments expressed on that show. But then, we didnt spend this past week leaping around the monkey cage screeching about Weiners fall. If anything, the problems we face today may be larger than the problems faced then. But this week, everyone was willing to blow those problems off for the sake of a good cleansing sex chase.
On Friday, July 13, Barnicle spent a much larger chunk of time on the Vitter matter. But as you can see if you read the full transcript, he basically spent his time challenging Vitters accusers. Some background:
Larry Flynt had played the Breitbart role in the outing of Vitter. He had produced the accurate information about Vitters naughty-boy conduct. On Fridays Hardball, Barnicle spoke with the D.C. Madams lawyer. Soon, he was waxing indignant:
No one was flinging the poo around when David Vitter fell from grace. This week, Matthews clowned and attacked in very wild ways, helped by a gang of trained seals.
Final point: Rachel Maddow was upset last night about the way the Weiner story got pimped. She bravely challenged the hypocrisy of major Republican players. But why did Matthews behave as he did? In effect, she could have walked down the corporate hallway and asked.
Why do you think she failed to do that? We can think of two million reasons. But why do you think she kept quiet?
PART 4WITH LIBERAL CONSENT (permalink): Its true. The press corps loves to screech and fling poo all about, disturbed by that hot steamy sex.
When no steamy sex can be found, they like to compensate by talking about total trivia. They will finger Newt Gingrichs jewels. Theyll express their concerns about Mitt Romneys clothes. Years ago, they were troubled by Candidate Gores boots, suits, buttons, jeans, shirts.
Sometimes, these nincompoops even like to pretend that they are concerned with more serious topics. On Monday, Chris Matthews pretended, as he flung poo around, that he wanted to talk about the debt ceiling. In truth, the one time hed ever tried to do that, he was instantly knocked off-topic by Marsha Blackburn, who rather plainly gets booked on his show because shes blonde and good-looking (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/9/11).
Chris Matthews doesnt know how to discuss such an issue. This obvious fact becomes quite clear in the rare instances when he tries.
These are deeply silly people; they enact a deeply silly culture. Last night, on the OReilly Factor, we saw one fruit of this culture.
Mr. O had invited Herman Cain to chitter-chat on his program. Herman Cain wants to be the next president. Mr. O asked a good question:
If elected, Herman Cain would eliminate the tax on capital gains. In response, Mr. O noted that the federal treasury would therefore receive no revenuenone at all!from this sector.
In a slightly different world, this question would make fairly obvious sense. But heres the answer OReilly got, again and again, in the culture which still has no name:
On Hardball, Chris Matthews had been flinging poo all around, screeching and retracting his lips and hurling himself up the bars of his cage. By way of contrast, Mr. O asked an obvious policy question; in fact, he asked it several times. In response, he got the type of answer that only could exist in our current culturethe culture which lacks a name:
Cain would cut the tax rate to zerobut the federal revenues would still roll in! Not going to drop, the candidate thoughtfully said.
In fairness, Cain could have fashioned a better ridiculous answer. He could have said that all the lending would put lots of people to work, generating oodles of income taxes. But within the culture that has no name, ludicrous answers dont even have to seem to make sense. Within this culture, you can cut the tax rate to zero and your revenue stream still wont drop!
Your explanation can stop right there! No further assembly required!
What kind of name might we give to a culture which generates discussions like thesediscussions of Weiners wee-wee and Gingrichs jewels along with policy discussions involving Cains magic zero? For our money, Mike Judge has probably done the best job, employing the term idiocracy.
But the most remarkable fact about this culture is the fact that it bears no familiar name, not even within the liberal world. For decades, the liberal establishment has sat and stared as this noxious culture has grown, eating progressive interests alive as it mutates and spreads.
How potent has liberal silence been? Consider something Digby said in this recent post. After discussing Californias famous Proposition 13, she offered this further comment:
The less you tax, the more revenue you get! Here at THE HOWLER, weve been screeching and flinging poo about that talking-point for the past decade. Before this week, we never knew that this was the right-wing rhetorical device which amazes Digby above all the rest. But then, the liberal world has made little attempt to confront the long string of crackpot points which have increasingly shaped our discourse over the past thirty years.
Powerful interests have spread these points all around. The career liberal world has just stared. With few exceptions, our policy mavens behave like good boys and girls; politely, they tinker around the edges, failing to name or describe the larger culture within which the lunacy spreads. But then, our side has never tried, in the past thirty years, to advance a basic insight. Heres what weve never side:
Our side has never stood up on and said that the public debate is insane and inane. That a modern nation simply cant be run like an idiocracy. That many of our most powerful media players behave in precisely that way. That this is an obvious function of liberal and mainstream conduct, not just of Sean and Bill (although theyre deeply culpable).
This past week tested our silence. Last week, the nation was pretty much discussing the Ryan Medicare planand as serious discussions will often do, this discussion was advancing progressive interests. Despite the efforts of Potemkin liberals (think of the loathsome Gail Collins), many citizens were coming to see that the Republican Party has been advancing some very unfortunate proposalsproposals which reflect a very strange view of Americas future.
This week, that discussion stopped. The screeching chimps of the mainstream press threw that serious discussion aside; as they often do, they replaced that serious discussion with poo-flinging talk about Weiners wee-wee. Heres the question we ask you to ponder:
Did you see a single career liberal go on your TV machine thingy and say the following things:
Its insane to waste our time on topics like this as our nation slides into the sea. I refuse to answer your questions about what Weiner did and why he did it. Instead, I challenge you: I challenge you to tell us why were having this silly discussionabout one lone member of the House, a body with 435 members.
Did you see a single person make that statement this week? Did you see a single person say this: I didnt care about David Vitter and I dont care about Anthony Weiner! (Full stop.) Or did you see your own tribal players flinging their own tribal poo all around? Did you perhaps see them playing the fool inside their own tribal cages?
In our experience, Lawrence ODonnell came closest to rejecting this weeks discussion on cableand he didnt come very close. In print, E. J. Dionne came quite close to rejecting this nonsense in this Washington Post op-ed column. But others were flung the poo all around, including the useless millionaire sold to us as Our Own Rhodes Scholar.
What did Rachel Maddow do? Well turn to that topic next week.
For today, lets consider an important moment in cultural historya moment when a very large unspoken problem was finally given a name. It was Betty Friedan who stepped forward, in 1963, in the opening chapter of The Feminine Mystique. In that famous chapter, she described a problem which had no name. In that way, the problem Friedan discussed in her book was much like our modern press culture:
To read the whole chapter, click this.
Whatever you think of Friedans famous book, she described an intriguing, destructive situation. A very serious problem existed, but that problem had no name! For that reason, no one knew how to discuss it.
The problem we face today is different. But thanks to the disgusting conduct of a generation of career liberal hustlers, this problemour modern political culturealso has no name.
Various career liberal hustlers are doing extremely well in this culture (click this). But your nation is dying beneath it. When do we give it a name?