KINDERGARTEN COPS! Rudys sins were MIA. A stupid discussion was not: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2007
KUCINICH AND RUSSERT: We were happy to see Dennis Kucinich profiled today in the Washington Post. (We may well vote for him.) In one part of Libby Copelands piece, Kucinich discusses the way Tim Russert tried to embarrass him at the October 30 debate—the same debate where Russert and his perfectly-coiffed trophy-wife went after Vile Clinton for two solid hours. (Eight years earlier, these empty suits savaged Gore. We Dems just sat there and took it.) From then till now, weve wanted to mention Russerts small, cheap act. Kucinich is surely mistaken, though, when he ponders this greatest mans motives:
We think highly of Kucinich—but his take on motive is surely wrong. Yes, Russert went a million miles out of his way to make Kucinich look bad that night—wasting the nations time to do so. But surely, this was done out of Russerts smallness. Surely, GE has no fears.
You see, Kucinich made a mistake that night. He actually dared to criticize Russert in the first half of that debate. With all due respect to our friends from the media here, the media itself has to be careful how you frame these questions, he said, almost frothing. We don't want to be put in a position where we are taking this country to the threshold of war. The media did play a role in taking us into war in Iraq, and I'm urging the members of the media to urge restraint upon you and our president, whose rhetoric is out of control.
In this town, you dont do that. Tim Russert, you see, is the greatest of men. God created him—and Jack Welch hired him. If you do that, you know what will follow.
RUDY RESTORED: Which major-party, White House front-runner escaped being battered on MSNBC last night?
Thats right—Rudy Giuliani escaped being battered. Behind that, there lies a long tale.
Lets review: Last Saturday, Steve Benen produced a list of the horrible stories which emerged about Giuliani last week (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/3/07). And he said, we thought inaccurately, that Rudy had experienced the worst week in recent memory.
But in our politics, a scandal hasnt occurred if big pundits refuse to discuss it. And on the first two nights of this week, the tools who churn script on MSNBC have completely avoided the list of horribles which Steve so capably compiled.
Last night, Giuliani wasnt mentioned on Tucker—and he was mentioned just once, in passing, on Hardball. But then, on Monday night, it was much the same thing. The Giuliani scandals were never mentioned on Tucker, and they received just one fleeting mention on Hardball. That came from a grizzled old Clinton-basher, Linda Douglass, as Matthews panel discussed a poll in which Rudys numbers declined.
Heres what Douglass said about Rudy. In the past two nights, this constitutes the total fall-out on Tucker and Hardball from last weeks Worst. Week. Ever:
That was it! In the past two nights, that constitutes the full discussion of Giulianis horrible week. If you watched the full four hours of these two programs, you were allowed to hear, just this one time, that Giuliani has had some negative publicity in the last several days. But darlings, you were never told what that publicity was.
But so it goes when The Network Jack Built discusses your major candidates. On Sundays Meet the Press, of course, Russert did little better.
Did Giuliani have the worst week ever? Not on MSNBC he didnt! But one front-runner was getting battered all over that net in the past two days. And perhaps you can guess who that front-runner that was. Her name? Of course! Vile Clinton.
KINDERGARTEN COPS: On last nights Hardball, they trashed Clinton hard—and they churned pure propaganda. But then, in what follows, you see the kind of stupid discussion that started on yesterdays Morning Joe, then continued all day on MSNBC, right through Tucker and Hardball. As in 1999, so today: Chris Matthews is working extra hard to select your partys nominee for you. And he has a stable of stooges who are willing to churn his scripts for him.
With apologies for the length of the excerpt, heres the start of a stupid discussion:
For the record, the Clinton campaign was very dumb to release that kindergarten critique, even if it was meant as a semi-joke, as it quite possibly was. They should have known that conversations like this one would very quickly ensue. That conversation is deeply inane, and deeply disingenuous—but variants of that conversation were found all over MSBNC yesterday. It started at 6:05 on Morning Joe. And it ran into the night.
What was wrong with that conversation? Lets start with Continettis statement.
Yes, the Clinton campaign should have known that the pundit corps would say these things. But no, the Clinton campaign didnt attack Obama for being a calculating, ambitious politician. Rightly or wrongly, accurately or otherwise, they attacked Obama for being dishonest—for saying that Clinton always wanted to be president, while he, a much more worthwhile fellow, had not pursued such a plan. In response to that presentation, the Clinton campaign posted this compilation—and it included the kindergarten critique, among other material which was actually relevant. Predictably, the pundit corps skipped over the relevant info—and misstated what the whole critique was about. They went straight to the kindergarten stuff—and began playing the fool.
On the other hand, you really have to salute this groups disingenuous ways. Matthews and Mason were in high dudgeon, appalled at the thought that someone would criticize a candidates conduct in kindergarten. But all during Campaign 2000, one of the candidates was trashed quite hard for his alleged life-long quest for the White House—and yes, the press corps gang of shrinks did go back to his kindergarten years, saying hed been the same annoying fellow then that we still was as an adult. (They quoted his baby-sitter. This was done in the Post.) Meanwhile, the Bradley campaign had started out with a shot against Gores deeply troubling past—against the fact that Gore, as a child, had actually lived in vile, horrid, bad Washington! (Bradley, a much more worthy fellow, had lived in a small Missouri town.) Bradley had raised his own daughter in Washington, of course, but nothing any candidate said would strike the press corps as fake or phony—as long as it was aimed at Vile Gore. Today, pundits pretend to be shocked, just shocked, to see a candidates childhood sifted. They themselves engaged in such stupid conduct, quite seriously, eight years ago.
The Clinton campaign was very dumb to post that kindergarten material, even if it may have been meant as a semi-joke. But then, they were probably dumb to respond to Obamas statement at all, given the soul of this press corps. (Mark Penn explained it on Morning Joe—and this has been the rule for years: When you criticize Clinton, you sharpen the differences. When Clinton criticizes you, its attack attack attack. This same rule obtained for Gore. It has been the rule for years.) But Democrats should perhaps be peeved with the high-minded man who started this whole brainless business (much as Bradley, eight years ago, started the damaging farm chores flap). Whats wrong with what Obama did? From a Democratic standpoint, two things:
First, he recycled a poorly-sourced claim from hit-man Jeff Gerth, using it to attack a fellow Dems character. Gerths claim doesnt seem to be true. So what? Obama ran with it anyway.
Second, he extended a standard anti-Dem attack: [Insert name of Democrat] has always wanted to be president! Are we Democrats really so dumb that we dont understand a simple fact—the fact that this has become a standard attack aimed at Democrats only? In the Pundit Wars of the past fifteen years, the Democrat is always dishonest—and he or she has always been seeking the White House since birth! (It was true of Bill Clinton. It was true of Gore. It was true of Kerry.) This slander played well for Obama for one reason only: Because a regressive gang of Democrat-killers have pimped it around for many years.
But then, Obama has churned endless RNC script against Clinton—just as Bradley did against Gore. (High-minded Bradley churned Willie Horton, Obama the Lincoln Bedroom.) Meanwhile, Matthews is choosing your nominee for you—and he has a gang of tools who are willing to read back his scripts. Last night, Mason, Capehart and Continetti played the fool, begging to be invited back again. But then, it started on Morning Joe, and continued long into the night.
The Clinton campaign was very foolish to post that kindergarten critique. Who wouldnt know how this would be played by the tools who swore, for two solid years, that Gore was a vicious attack dog? These scripts were written long ago—and these consummate stooges know how to apply them. From a Democratic perspective, its a shame to see a high-minded man so endlessly eager to mine them.
But Stoddard seems to come by it honestly. You see, shes the daughter of a philosopher—a lifestyle philosopher—and lets just say that complex thought may not run deep in this family. (Her father was the long-time head of ABC Entertainment.) Indeed, Stoddard is one of the upper-class darlings who increasingly people Americas press corps. If you want to understand where your punditry comes from, read the hilarious review, reprinted below, of one of Stoddard meres many books (Alexandra Stoddard's Tea Celebrations: The Way to Serenity). If you watched this philosophers daughter last night, you may have learned a valuable fact: Apples may fall near the tree.
No, we dont normally visit the books of the mother on the daughter. But you simply cant run a middle-class democracy with a fatuous upper-class press corps. This Kirkus review is very funny. The musings of the philosophers daughter with the simpering Carlson are not:
There you have it. Increasingly, thats the world from which your inane political narratives spring. Dearest darlings, the philosophers daughter was hapless last night. Even worse, she was chatting with Carlson.
Oh yes: Rudys worst week wasnt mentioned at all. Their scripts just werent constructed for that. There is no format for Rudy.
SOME OF YOU WILL THINK: Some of you will think were being unfair to A. B. Stoddard. Fair enough. But when she goes on TV and spouts as she does, it affects the shape of world history.
We let these imbeciles play these games eight years ago. Are you happy with how that turned out?
Meanwhile, from which deep wells does modern punditry spring? For a bit of pundit pillow talk, youll surely: Just click here.
Were sorry. But this is a problem.