FLAT EARTH LIBERAL! Nothing has changed, Kevin Drum says. But then, hes a true Flat Earth Liberal: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2007
HERBERT STRIKES AGAIN: A new Zogby poll has now emerged—with Clinton trailing every major Republican! Of course, this poll could be an outlier; it could just be wrong. But as this poll was discussed on todays Morning Joe, everyone knew to avoid the obvious. This new poll suggests an obvious possibility: When Tim Russert and Brian Williams staged last months attack on Clinton, it may be that they hit their target.
(Update: For Greg Sargent's take on the Zogby poll, you know what to do: Just click here.)
This was endlessly done to Gore—and to Gores polling numbers. Now, Clinton-Gore haters have a new prey—and they may be getting results.
No, no front-runner has ever been treated the way Candidate Clinton was treated that night. But career liberals have kept their mouths shut about that very basic fact. Most likely, theyll also accept the loathsome but familiar way Bob Herbert behaves this morning.
When last we looked in on this hopeless fellow, he was trashing Candidate Gore for his bad character after the first Bush-Gore debate. Gore had sighed too much, Herbert angrily said—and Herbert even vouched for Bushs good faith in his endless misstatements. (Astounding. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/5/07.) This morning, the hopeless Herbert is at it again, beating up the present Dems and showcasing his endless failure to understand American politics.
Todays Dems are weak tea, he asserts—and he starts with Candidate Clinton. Question: Who actually reasons this way—except for modern journalists?
In a word, thats just astounding. Clinton is rigidly programmed, Herbert says, not spontaneous—just as was endlessly said about Gore. And then, the gentleman moves to pure fantasy. In reality, there is no poll that justifies the vastly embellished claim that, in the view of most voters, Clinton will say whatever the moment demands. (This too was constantly said about Gore.) And then, the crowning blow to your intelligence—the familiar resort to what Herbert can just picture. Herbert can just picture Clinton prowling through polling data, he says—and so he hands this picture to us! Other hopefuls dont review polling, of course. At least, not in Herberts home movies.
There are no words for the stupidity of that construction—or for the harm it does to Dems. (This claim about polls was endlessly made against Gore. Its a modern RNC classic.) But Herbert then starts in on Obama—and he recites golden oldies here too:
This portrait is less punishing than the portrait of Clinton—but its equally scripted and phantasmagoric. As everyone except Bob Herbert knows, Obama has now been trashing Clinton for weeks—and his campaign was doing so for months before that. But so what? To Herbert, Obama is running a make-nice candidacy; hes a guy with no sharp edges. (For the record, this is precisely the portrait being drawn of Bill Bradley eight years ago. Bradley was calling Gore every name in the book—and his campaign was inventing new names for the book. But the press corps kept saying that Bradley was too high-minded to fight—even as they repeated the endless slanders against Gore which he and his campaign were spreading.)
Gee, thats not setting the bar too high! According to Herbert, the Dem nominee must offer a vision of an American future so compelling that voters head to the polls with a sense of excitement. He or she must offer an honest vision that is almost electric in its intensity. But in the real world, politicians are almost never able to offer such compelling, electric visions. In these constructions, Herbert gives us the word—the Dem nominees gonna lose.
And indeed, he may be right—and he may be showing us why he is right. Late in Campaign 2000, this deeply stupid Hardball liberal was still trashing Candidate Gore—and vouching for Candidate Bushs good faith. Now, he has started the same line of abusive attack against the current Dem leaders. He can picture Clinton prowling through polls; meanwhile, he cant picture Obama playing it tough, although hes been doing so for the past month. With liberals like Herbert, who needs conservatives? This stupid man trashed Gore to the end—and hes starting in on this years losers.
Herbert can picture Clinton going through polls? We ask a question weve asked before: What have Americans ever done to have this hopeless gang visited on us? Why do the gods continue to punish us with the likes of the hapless Bob Herbert?
Note on cluelessness: How utterly clueless is Herbert? How badly does he misunderstand our politics? The American public, tired of war and economically insecure, longs for a leader who will tell the truth and offer a way out of the current morass, he assures us. We have no idea why Herbert would think that—but last Friday, this same improbable, gauzy vision informed a fantasy-driven (and Clinton-bashing) Times editorial on immigration. Liberal pundits who believe such nonsense will trash Big Dems for being careful in what they say about such emotional issues like immigration. Theyll trash current Dems, just as they trashed Gore.
By the way: Recalling the way Herbert trashed Candidate Gore to the end, how do you like the way that one worked out? Whats your view about Bob Herberts judgment?
PART 1—NOTHING HAS CHANGED: We have no idea whos worst—Mark Halperin, Kevin Drum or Richard Ben Cramer. But if you want to see the latest post that refuses to deal with simple reality, you see it here, as Kevin ponders the way the press corps covers presidential elections.
When you read that remarkable post by Drum, youre reading a true Flat Earth Liberal.
A bit of background: In Sundays New York Times, Halperin said hes sworn off the model that has dominated campaign reporting—a model he blames on Cramers 1989 book, What It Takes. According to Halperin, he once believed that the best campaigner would also turn out to be the best president; he got that notion from Cramer, he claims. (Richard Ben Cramer made Halperin do it!) But no more! Hes going to be so much wiser now, Halperin proudly proclaims. He says hes learned this after watching the failings of Presidents Clinton and Bush. More on that come Thursday.
In his post, Kevin starts talking about Halperins pledge—his pledge to swear off this tired old model of campaign coverage. And just like that, Kevin shows us how determined he is to avoid observing the shape of modern electoral politics. Here you see the predictable work of the liberal scribblers who, for reasons they will never explain, will never explain your world to you:
As usual, they refuse to inform you.
According to Kevin, his memory suggests that surprisingly little has changed in the past three decades. Campaign coverage was silly then and its silly now, he claims—and he goes back to Teddy Whites Making of the President books to flesh out his point. But what has changed since Teddy White wrote his first, iconic book, The Making of the President, 1960? In the past, weve explained this in great detail—although were no longer sure why we bother. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/14/03.)
What has changed since 1960? Something remarkably basic has changed, although Kevin will just never tell you.
What has changed since 1960? At one point in his iconic first book, White painted a truly remarkable picture. He described the way the mainstream press corps was flying around the country, mocking and laughing at one of the candidates—and bonding with the other candidate, the one who was pandering to them. And wouldnt you know it? Forty years later, during Campaign 2000, a string of major profiles painted a very similar picture! As White had done forty years before, they described the way the mainstream press corps was flying around the country, mocking and laughing at one of the candidates—and bonding with the other candidate, the one who was pandering to them. But uh-oh! In Whites account, the press corps was bonding with Candidate Kennedy—and mocking and laughing at Candidate Nixon. By the time of Campaign 2000, though, the press corps was bonding with Candidate Bush—and mocking and laughing at Candidate Gore.
In short, the press corpss conduct was exactly the same—but the press corps party allegiance had changed! To Kevin, this means that things remain unchanged. Theres nothing to look at here, people!
But so it will go—as long as we allow Flat Earth Liberals to define our understanding of the way modern journalism works.
Kevins failure to note that basic distinction is stunning but really quite typical. Then again, theres the following cluelessness. What press corps does Kevin Drum read?
Good God—thats simply astonishing. In Kevins view, journalists focus on personality because theyve already worn themselves out writing 3000-word policy pieces. And in keeping with their code of objectivity, journalists simply refuse to take sides in the matter of who would make the best president. Taking sides would break the rules. They end up writing about personality to relieve their resultant boredom.
Well let the psychiatrists step in to tell us how Kevin can write or perhaps believe such things. But when you read this predictable work, youre reading the work of a true Flat Earth Liberal. Youre reading the work of a person who is, for whatever reason, completely unable or unwilling to see the shape of the real world.
But then, career liberals have done this to you for the past fifteen years. How long do you plan to accept it?
TOMORROW—PART 2: Duh. The obvious uses of trivia
(Warning! It will take an IQ of at least 45 to understand tomorrows post.)