THE TWO RACHELS! If anyone can get Angle elected, well guess that the bad Rachel can: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010
Its always something/and, THE TWO RACHELS: Doggone itits always something! Our sprawling computer network is in the shop, having been taken down last Saturday morning. Weve been shipwrecked all that time, unable to get on-line!
Its hard to keep current when computers are down. We regret that, because weve been fascinated by Rachel Maddows recent coverage of senate candidate Sharron Angle, who won the GOP senate nomination in Nevada last Tuesday.
Could Angle possibly beat Harry Reid? Presumably, yes, she could. In a Rasmussen poll taken after the primary, Angle was leading Reid, 50-39. Rasmussen polls tend to tilt Republican, and any poll taken right after a primary will likely favor the primary winner. (Angle emerged with an upset win over Sue Lowden. Reid was essentially unopposed.) But presumably, Angle could win. For that reason, we get nervous when we see the way Maddow has instinctively approached this candidate.
A bit of background: Weve been struck, in the past few weeks, by what we now call the two Rachels. One of these persons (the good Rachel) seems to be extremely capable. You see her at work when Maddow sketches out the facts surrounding the spill in the gulf. But the other Maddow (the bad Rachel) is full of contempt for regular peopleespecially for regular people who have the bad taste to be white conservatives.
For various reasons, Angle is a highly vulnerable candidate, even though Reid has low approval ratings in Nevada. But uh-oh! Since last Thursday night, an unpleasant thought has played in our heads: If anyone can get Angle elected, it may be the bad Rachel.
Since Angle won the GOP primary, the bad Rachel has been mocking her in predictable ways. As with other top-shelf liberals, Maddow never seems to understand how her attitudes may be perceived by people who arent from the clan. (That is, by the bulk of voters.) And the apparent competence of the good Rachel tends to flee the scene when the bad Rachel appears on the set. For example, we were struck by this typically self-assured comment from last evenings program:
Angle favors some form of privatization. (We doubt that shes ever spelled her proposal out in detail.) But is this position politically toxic in the way Maddow seems to believe? Maddow is always quite sure of herself when she declaims about such matters. But weve followed this topic with some interest, dating back to the year 2000, when Candidate Bush made Social Security reform a central part of his first campaign for the White House. Persistently, he got the advantage over Gore in polls on the issue. But then, personal accounts had been polling favorably for years at that point, as weve explained in the past.
When Bush finally pursued this issue in 2005, he couldnt get his plan for personal accounts through the Congress. But are you sure that support for personal accounts would be a loser in Nevada? We arent sure of that at all, and we often find that the bad Rachels self-assurancemixed with her haughty contempt for conservativesleads her to make faulty judgments.
Maddow no longer tells dick jokes every night about tea party members. (Nor did she ever explain why she stopped.) But the contempt which led her to do this in April 2009 seems to be buried deep in the bad Rachel side of her soul. Could Angle possibly beat Harry Reid? Were not sure. But if anyone can get Angle elected, well guess that the bad Rachel could.
We hope to explore Maddows coverage of Angle in the next few days. But please forgive us as we struggle along. Its hard to stay current when youre not on-lineand well remain in that condition for the next few days.
Pimping personal accounts: Times are different now. But when Candidate Bush ran on personal accounts, the mainstream press corps hailed his greatness and savaged Gore for his opposition. This was the late Tim Russert, with Joe Klein, praising Candidate Bush to the skies and trashing Candidate Gore:
In proposing partial privatization, Bush had taken the more progressive position!
Angle wont get that kind of help. Reid wont get trashed for opposing privatization. But thats how the mainstream press pimped personal accounts back in the very bad day.
As of the year 2000, personal accounts had polled well for years. Are you sure the position is toxic today? Maddow seemed very certain last night. The analysts groaned and complained.