WHOS DOOMING WHOM! Kevin thought that Rudy was doomed. This morning, Richard Cohen thinks different: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2007
RESURRECTION: Were back on-line—and man alive, is dial-up slow! But it will be our burden for the next week or so. Dont ask.
Today, we review a post from last week. It made all the analysts cry.
WHOS DOOMING WHOM: Frankly, were puzzled, the credit cards write, when you havent paid them their due. (We base this on what weve heard in comedy clubs.) And thats how we felt when Kevin Drum, just about our favorite analyst, offered the following puzzling prediction about Giulianis fate. Last Thursday, Kevin had watched Americas Mayor respond to Bushs speech:
DRUM (9/14/07): Aside from the bugeye thing, which makes Giuliani look just plain weird, I was struck, as I usually am, by how completely lacking in substance Giuliani is. He's literally a candidate built purely on attitude, like some hastily sketched-in part in a B movie. I'm surprised he's done even as well as he has so far, but there's no way the press is going to give him a pass on his pull-the-string-and-hear-a-buzzword candidacy for much longer. He's doomed.How will Giuliani be treated by the press? We wouldnt make a blanket prediction. But after all these years, we cant imagine why Kevin would make that particular guess. Is Giuliani doomed to rough treatment? Because hes so utterly lacking in substance? Nothing in the past fifteen years tells us why any liberal would think such a thing. Indeed, major blocks of the mainstream press corps—we think of the Chris Matthews gang at this point—have made it clear that they very much like Rudys attitude, which Kevin references. We find it hard to imagine that Americas Mayor is about to be jumped by the mainstream press—by the people who have childishly called him that name for the past six years.
Indeed: Kevin made his prediction last week. This morning, progressive columnist Richard Cohen is trashing the current Democratic front-runner for her tie to the pseudo-scandals of the 1990s. He even lists her ties to Whitewater, which Gene Lyons left for dead in 1995, with Kenneth Starrs gang doing likewise years later. (At least, Cohen skips Vince Fosters death.) But how about Rudy, allegedly doomed? As is common, Cohen gives the mayor a a pass for his recent stupid dissembling:
COHEN (9/18/07): Certain Republicans, especially Rudy Giuliani, have attempted to exploit the MoveOn.org ad for their own political purposes, even wondering whether the Times violated election law by selling the page at a (standard) discount. This is silly. But it is not silly to wonder—yet again—about what makes Hillary run.In this column, Hillary Clinton fails to challenge a rude statement by somebody else—and were instantly wallowing in Whitewater! The whole column concerns about her bad character. By contrast, Giuliani himself makes a bogus, fake claim—and this is quickly dismissed, in two sentences. Its just silly, this progressive says. And he goes back to trashing Vile Clinton.
But this is the way the mainstream press corps have played this game for the past fifteen years—including the Potemkin progressives, like Cohen. And Kevins post—yes, hes one of our favorite analysts—helps us see an essential fact: Our side simply cant come to terms with this essential fact. We cant seem to see or describe the way presspolitics has worked in the Clinton/Gore/Kerry era. We keep expecting these people to behave as they should—not as they constantly have.
In our view, Giuliani is an endless dissembler. But why would this press corps ever say that?
Our side cant seem to play this game. As proof, we marveled when our new Vanity Fair finally arrived in yesterdays mail. There was the cover blurb for Evgenia Peretzs superlative piece:
HOW THE MEDIA GORED AL GORE IN 2000Yes, thats right—it said in 2000. Seven years later, we finally get around—in one magazine—to describing this history-changing event. Seven years later, we complain—in one publication—about one of the most remarkable press events in American history.
But the other side plays a different game. Last week, Giuliani moved very quickly to make that absurd, bogus claim about the Times. Result? Cohen dismisses his dissembling as silly—as he trashes Clintons character, much as his cohort trashed Gores.
In our view, someone should tell our progressive Post pundit that Whitewater ended up as a bust. It has been a full twelve years since Lyons began to make this clear. But on our side, we hate to complain—and we seem completely unable to see the modern press as it is.
COMMENTERS: We insist on saying it one more time: Kevin is a superlative analyst. But what restrains our brightest liberal leaders from seeing the shape of the modern press? For the record, many commenters responded to Kevins post in pretty much the way we did. But there, on the cover of Vanity Fair, was a tribute to the way we all have failed in the past.
Note: In November 2001, Rolling Stone published this superb piece by Eric Boehlert about the press corps trashing of Gore. Like Peretz, Boehlert did a superlative job, sketching the shape of this cosmic scandal. (Its effect on world history wasnt clear yet.) And the liberal world did what it does best when the mainstream press corps conduct is involved. Handed Boehlerts superlative piece, we sat and we stared into air.
Six years later, Vanity Fair correctly assessed the state of play: This story would be news to its readers. Need we make the obvious point? If a Republican had been treated this way, the screaming would have been loud and endless. Just what keeps our stumbling side from confronting the world as it is?