SOMETHING BORROWED, NOTHING NEW! Doctor Goldberg borrowed a framework the Heathers all used the last time: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2009
Inside the Dean dome: As currently constructed, would the Senate health reform bill add to the federal deficit? Well guess that it probably would. But we marveled at David Broders attempt to discuss this question in Sundays Washington Post.
And yes, that is the specific question The Dean was trying to discuss. At the start of his column, he quoted a specific question in a new national poll:
Will a health reform bill add to the federal deficit? In theory, thats what Broder was judging. But soon, he quoted a pair of experts. Robert Bixby went first:
You may think Bixbys assessments are accuratebut they dont specifically speak to the question of the federal deficit. (Duh. If those tax increases are big enough, they will offset the new spending.) But then, things only got worse when Broder quoted his second expert:
MacGuineas seems to say that the bill would reduce the federal deficitit just wouldnt do so enough.
As Broder continued, he never quite straightened out the confusion. At one point, he once again seemed to (maybe) conflate the question of new spending in the bill with the question of additional deficits. To his credit, he fumbled around with some relevant points; well-versed readers may have thought they knew what he meant. But his work was murky from start right to finish. For us, this brought back memories.
We recalled the halcyon days when Broder mocked two typical targets for boring him with policy speechespolicy speeches filled with swell ideas, policy speeches which werent about the state of [Hillary Clintons] marriage (links below). The Dean was bored by those policy speeches. After reading his fumbling Sunday effort, well only offer this suggestion: Maybe The Dean should have listened up better when serious people tried to show him how to analysze serious topics.
Our own opinion? When it comes to this fumbling Dean, a real newspaper would have put down its foot at least nine years ago.
Visit our incomparable archives: At the 2000 Democratic convention, Gores speech was so full of swell ideas, it almost put The Dean to sleep. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/22/06.
When Hillary Clinton spoke about energy issues, The Dean was bothered by her know-it-all toneand by her failure to discuss the state of her marriage. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/25/06.
Maureen Dowd had been bored by Clintons speech too. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/24/06or just marvel at this:
Yesterday, Broder tried to talk about policy! It was a column-long, twilight struggle.
Well-twinned Heathers: How inane are the Antoinettes? How widely established is their boredom-based culture? Below, you see Broder describing Gores boring speechand Dowd describing Clintons:
The Heathers always know what they like. And darlings! The Heathers dont like it when pols drone on through pages of swell ideas.
PART 2SOMETHING BORROWED, NOTHING NEW: Societys Heathers have been out in force, critiquing Sarah Palins book (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/20/09). Just consider the New York Times twinned Heathers, the nincompoops Rich and Dowd.
In yesterdays column, Dowd let you know, right from the jump, why you should look down on Palin. If you want to know how conservatives prosper, you dont have to read the whole column:
As usual, Dowd started with her targets hair, then told you what the hair represents. (From 1997 through November 2000, she devoted six columns to Candidate Gores bald spot. Candidate Edwards was routinely The Breck Girl. With Giuliani, it was always the comb-over.) Sarah Palin is queen of the strip malls, this big dumb Heather instructed her readers. But Rich, if anything, started out dumber. Where do they find these people?
Jesus God help us, thats stupid. Cox is almost always fatuous; Rich provides a small public service by starting to mainstream this observation. (In the feather-weight province called liberal cable, Coxs fatuity gets dished to young liberals as part of the Maddow program.) But to state what is blindingly obvious, you dont have to read an entire book to be able to say if the book is well-written. And you dont have to read a book completely before you critique its contents.
Predictably, Coxs critique was inane. By way of contrast, we agree with most, not all, of what Cheney said. (It's a good read. It's well written. She comes across, you know, as very likable, as somebody with a lot of common sense. When she does make criticism, I have to say she does it with a pretty deft touch, and the book is moving in some parts.) Wed skip the claim about Palins wealth of common sense. Otherwise, we would agree with Cheney. Like it or not, the book is well written. (Cue choir of Heathers: But Palin didnt write it!) And wed have to say its much more interesting than most such political books.
Rich and Dowd put on a show, as they almost always do. But for our money, last weeks biggest Heather (we choose the gender-tinged term for a reason) was The Daily Beasts Michelle Goldberg. In fairness, she didnt discuss Palins hair. Instead, she found something dumber:
Jesus God help us, thats dumb! Goldberg isnt a shrink, of course. She only plays one on TV (Thursdays Larry King Live) and in print, just as the jeering Heathers did as the last decade was ending. Playing a shrink is never a real good idea for a journalist. But Goldberg made the move even dumber by citing the hapless Todd Purdum:
Purdum had been shockedjust shocked!when Alaskans delivered this diagnosis. Independently of one another! But as we noted at the time, Purdum was either faking it in that piece, or hes impossibly dumb. In web-era politics, it has long been completely conventional for partisans to aim this diagnosis at pols with whom they disagree; at that time, we found more links for Obama AND narcissistic personality disorder than for Palin AND same (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/6/09). Yet Purdum was shockedjust shocked!when several Alaskans, independently of each other, told him they had come up with this diagnosis.
If Purdum was acting in good faith, he was dumb as a bag of old rocks. Citing his crapola four months later, Goldberg is even dumber.
Does Palin have this psychiatric dysfunction, or perhaps some other? Its always possible, of course. But theres no way of knowing about such things; when writers like Goldberg play the shrink this way, theyre letting you know that they are among the dumbest bunnies on earth. (Or that they think you are.) But Doctor Goldberg wasnt content with this most common web-era diagnosis. As she started her pitiful piece, she journeyed back a full ten years, borrowing the groaning framework the Heathers used the last time they played this game:
It may be that Goldbergs too dumb to remember. Perhaps shes just playing her readers for fools. But that is precisely the framework the jeering Heathers used in 1999 and 2000, when they were determined to turn Candidate Gore into a clinical liar. In the early days, Doctor Bill Turque was constantly IN, working from his couch at Newsweekalthough, in time, they took turns reciting the good doctors groaning framework. What follows is an early expression of same. It appeared in Newsweek, just as the jeering Heathers began working to establish the claim that Candidate Gore had lied about Love Canal:
Like Doctor Goldberg, Doctor Turque was constantly puzzled. Candidate Gore kept telling lies even when the truth was just as laudable. Then, as now, it was mystifying! Why would he do such a thing?
In fact, Gores small but easy-to-spot untruth wasnt an untruth at all. But this passage may have been the first expression of a framework many Heathers would eventually pimp: Mystifyingly, Candidate Gore kept telling lies even when the truth was as good. As the weeks went by, Doctor Turque kept reciting this diagnosis. Before too long, the other children stood in line to recite it.
This is how the Heathers conspired to send George Bush to the White House. It should be disgusting to see a Heather bringing this silly old framework backunless she has very strong evidence backing her assertions.
Is Sarah Palin psychiatrically disordered? Its always possible, of coursebut Doctor Goldberg has no way of knowing. Neither does the willing beard who played the fool in support of her theory. Theres always some professor or other who will back a clown like Goldberg in trade for a bit of reflected gloryperhaps for a few more book sales. In this case, it is the unfortunate Charles V. Ford, the author of Lies! Lies! Lies! The Psychology of Deceit, and a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.
But again, lets get clear on the ethics:
If youre going to write a piece with a groaning old framework accusing some pol of some psychiatric disorder, you probably ought to get your facts straightthe facts which led to your diagnosis. In this case, as ten years ago, The Doctor didnt bother.
TomorrowPart 3: The Doctors embarrassing facts.
WednesdayPart 4: Jeering Heathers, past and present.