THE WAR FOR TERROR! A shrieking host was terrified by the faces he saw on the Hill: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2009
This just in from a small inbred club: If you want an excuse to tear your hair, just spend a night watching cable pundits as they try to explain almost any issue. For example, consider the way they have tried to explain the so-called Stupak amendment.
Over the weekend, the Stupak amendment ended up in the House health care reform bill. Monday evening, at the top of her show, Rachel Maddow explained what it meant:
Really? Is that what final passage of the Stupak amendment would mean? No insurance coverage for abortionperiod? Thats always possible, of course, though Maddows logic seemed a bit tortured to us. Why couldnt insurance companies offer some policies which cover abortionand other policies which didnt? How hard could that possibly be?
We were a bit puzzled by Maddows claimbut no worry! In this same segment, Maddow was going to interview Rep. Diana DeGette, who is leading the Democratic push-back against the amendment. In a rational world, this would likely help clarify things. This was Maddows introduction:
That was an obvious opening questionthe first of four questions Maddow would ask. But go aheadread the full interview! (For the transcript, just click here.) DeGette never offered anything like the prognosis Maddow had just presentednor did Maddow ever ask DeGette about her sweeping prediction. Would the Stupak amendment do what Maddow had said? Would it likely [mean] no insurance coverage for abortion in the United Statesperiod? We dont have the first freaking idea. You see, Maddow never asked!
Maddow constantly does things like this. But in fairness, the confusion has been general over cable TV this week. Weve seen endless discussions of Stupakbut very few attempts to define what the amendment would actually do. The haplessness of cable hosts has been on stark display.
At least we got to enjoy one mordant laugh. Last night, after two straight nights of conceptual chaos on the always-confused cable program Hardball, Chris Matthews said this to Cynthia Tucker, right at the end of his hour:
Thats the first time somebodys explained it clearly! Since Matthews himself had been leading discussions of this topic for two straight nights, just whose fault was that? Meanwhile, Tuckers explanation was fairly clearbut was it accurate and complete? It didnt occur to Matthews to ask. Finally, Fineman should be led away to a padded room in The Land of the Meaningless Cable Babblers. Go ahead! Just try to make sense of what he said! Sorry: Just try to tease out his specifics!
Today, well offer one small tip for those who are watching their culture implode. Understand this: The people you see on your TV machine basically cant explain sh*t. In truth, these are very unintelligent people. That includes the Pulitzer winnerswhich is to say, almost everyone who has a column.
These people belong to a small inbred club. So do the Pulitzer voters.
PART 3THE WAR FOR TERROR: In a slightly different world, last Thursday would have been a sad day for the Republican Party. After months of delay, the party had released its health reform planand it didnt amount to a lot. If you watched Countdown, you heard a typically jumbled and hurried account of what the plan did and didnt do (see THE HOWLER, 11/10/09). The next morning, an editorial provided a somewhat clearer sense of what the plan was about:
The Republican bill wouldnt cost a lotand it would accomplish even less! Ten years out, 52 million would be uninsured. The cost of premiums would be somewhat reducedlargely due to reduced coverage.
In the opinion of the editors, this proposal represented a dismaying abdication of responsibility. It would have been a sad day for Republicansif Democrats and liberals had ever created a world in which the bulk of voters actually cared about expanding coverage and reducing the cost of premiums. But in all honesty, Democrats and liberals have never created any such world. For an example of what we do instead, lets return to Keith Olbermanns clowning on last Thursday nights Countdown.
Toward the end of the programs first segment, Olbermann and Clarence Page would fumble their way through a rushed attempt to explain the Republican proposal. But Olbermanns main objective this night involved something quite differenta long, dumb culture war. On this same day, Republican leaders had staged a dumb rally on the steps of the Capitol buildingand Olbermann was eager to shriek and wail about what had transpired. Last night, this big dumb oaf wasted everyone-s time ranting about Carrie Prejeanagain! But last Thursday, our dumbest of oafs was wailing about Michele Bachmann. In his shrieking and screaming, he treated his viewers like addled foolsand helped show why progressive ideas rarely win:
Remember when primal nitwits like Olbermann/Maddow pretended they were offended by the politics of fear? Last Thursday, Olbermann propped himself over his fainting couch and offered that utterly silly account of the sad and silly rally Bachmann and the others had produced.
But then, silly people have always needed each otherto maintain their inane culture wars.
How silly was our shrieking host this night? Consider the cosmic foolishness of that, his opening wail.
How foolish was Olbermanns opening wail? According to Olbermann, Bachmann had led a protest that day which compared health care reform to Nazi death camps. (More on that tomorrow.) Not only that: Her protest had encouraged harassment of the governmentand possibly violence against it! And not only that: On this day, an actual congresswoman had been spotted inciting a hateful rebellion against the rule of law and order! But how exactly had Bachmann done that? Moments later, Olbermann, reaching for smelling salts, played the utterly pitiful tape which supposedly proved his case:
Sadly, that was Olbermanns evidence that an actual congresswoman had been spotted inciting a hateful rebellion against the rule of law and orderpossibly encouraging violence against the government. Go aheadread the full transcript. Out of that utterly pointless moment, this big nut had crafted that wail.
A few moments later, Gene Robinson arrived to clown along with the shrieking hostand the shrieking host played it again. Today, we saw a member of Congress encouraging harassment of the government, fomentingher word was revolution, KO said.
No, you cant get dumber than thatbut KO was willing to try. He dragged out twoCount em, two!Pulitzer winners to play along with his silly clowning. And sure enough! Obeying the rules of pseudo-liberal war, the shrieking host was soon asserting that the event was been rancid with racism:
Well become the party of hate? Look whos talking, the eye-rolling analysts cried, choking back laughter as this great pseudo-liberal wept about the alleged refusal to acknowledge the outcome of an election. They had no idea what KO meant by thatBachmann got elected last year, tooand they searched and searched, all through this segment, for Olbermanns evidence of all that bigotry and racism. Sorry: Olbermann never made any real attempt to explain this ultimate crowd-pleasing charge. But by the end of his segment with Robinson, he offered this bit of silly rank garbageand acknowledged his own state of terror:
If you dont understand how stupid that is, you ought to stop following politics. By Sunday, the shrieking Frank Rich was playing the same addled cardagainst a district in upstate New York which had supported Obama over McCain, by five points. In the view of the shrieking Lord Rich, that district didnt have enough blacks and Hispanics either. For that reason, the district belonged in Utah, this highest and dumbest lord said.
Bachmann had staged an utterly silly, utterly inconsequential pep rally. A day or two earlier, the CBO had let us see how silly and inconsequential the Republican health plan was. But in the real world, in your actual nation, Bachmanns party and its allies continued to kick the sh*t out of our own hapless health reform plan. Once agin, we were back to a logical problem: How can a gang of nitwits like Bachmann keep kicking the shit out of fellows like Olbermann/Rich?
The answer lies in those shrieking rantsin their love for a sick/stupid culture war, their love of pure ongoing hatred.
TomorrowPart 4: Preambling into history!