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FRAMING THE SAINTS! Imus and Barnicle praised the saints. No Democrats need apply: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 2007

WATCHING SPIN GROW: David Brooks says it—and we start reciting! This letter, from a Pelosi-defender, appears in today’s New York Times:
To the Editor:

David Brooks chides Nancy Pelosi for owning a vineyard, being chauffeured to school as a child, investing in high-end real estate, and wearing pearls.

Yet Republicans have always maintained that wealth is a natural right in our country—and how do her offenses compare with those of a political leader who sends 3,000 troops to die in a false war?

P— L—
Fairfax, Va., Jan. 4, 2006
Was Pelosi “chauffeured to school as a child?” We don’t know—and almost surely, the letter writer doesn’t know either. But the American over-class earns its bread portraying major Dems as spoiled rich kids (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/4/07). And, like lambs marched off to the slaughter, we liberals reflexively help them along! Even as we challenge Brooks’ logic, we pass along the image he peddled. But then, we often did similar dumb-ass thing as they waged their long war against Gore. Are you happy with how that turned out?

No, Pelosi didn’t grow up in “wealth,” the misleading image this letter extends. Here’s part of Wolfgang Saxon’s obituary of her father, in the New York Times:
SAXON (8/24/97): Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., Mayor of Baltimore from 1947 to 1959 and an influence in Maryland and national Democratic politics for many years before that, died yesterday in his city's Mercy Hospital after a heart attack. He was 84 years old.

The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. D'Alesandro was a lifelong resident and tireless, ribbon-cutting booster of Baltimore. He entered politics in 1927 as a member of the Maryland State Legislature and won his next 22 campaigns for the City Council, the House of Representatives and City Hall.

He was known as ''Tommy'' to his constituents and to Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy...

Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. was born in Baltimore's Little Italy and never left the neighborhood. Asked why he remained in the community of modest row houses, he replied: ''I'm a Paisano. These are my people and this is where I belong.''

He left school at the age of 13 to help support his family and attended Calvert Business College in Baltimore.

His son, Thomas D'Alesandro 3d, served as City Council President and Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, and his daughter, Nancy Pelosi, recently won a special election in San Francisco to fill a vacancy in the House.

In 1999, they wanted the public to think that Gore had grown up in a fancy hotel. (Their primal idiot, Maureen Dowd, started the trend of calling Gore “Eloise”—a bit of spin many others adopted.) Today, they want the public to think that young Pelosi was “chauffeured” to some fancy school. (Those “modest row houses” must be disappeared.) And we liberals can’t wait to help them out—to pass their spin-driven portraits along! But then, our “leaders” endlessly failed to discuss the endless tricks they used against Gore. This, of course, makes it much more likely that such tricks will work again.

Our over-class will work quite hard to build fake tales around our next nominee. Because our “leaders” have been so quiet so long, our letter-writers are easy marks. We seem to revel in our dumbness—in our cheerful march to the slaughter.

HE’S A SOLE MAN: Quite sensibly, Ezra Klein was struck by Patrick Healy’s latest piffle concerning Hillary Clinton. In the passage which caught Klein’s eye, Healey some meetings Clinton has held about her possible White House campaign:

HEALY (1/4/07): Mrs. Clinton has gone to great lengths to try to keep these meetings private. She and her aides have strongly asked Democrats not to report what has taken place there, from what she says to what she eats, and where (she had the lamb at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Washington, the Dover sole at the Four Seasons in New York).
Quite sensibly, Ezra was struck by Healy’s interest in what Clinton eats (and where). “The message is about as subtle as George Allen placing a deer head in the NAACP's mailbox,” he wrote. “So far as The New York Times is concerned, Hillary will have no secrets. Not about entree preferences, not about anything.”

For ourselves, we wouldn’t swear that Healy wanted to send the message Klein describes. Klein may be too sane to grasp this (we’d hardly blame him), but as we’ve noted again and again, this “press corps” is simply in love with trivia, as dimwit elites always are. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar—and ditto an order of Dover sole. It may be that Healy was simply doing what his cohort does best—flailing about, looking for ways to kill time and avoid talking substance.

But the revelation of “entree preferences” sometimes serves actual purposes. During Campaign 2000, the New York Times repeatedly published the menus from Gore’s fund-raising dinners. (Link below. Bush’s menus were not published.) Here’s the grisly Katharine “Kit” Seelye, dishing the menu from one such event:
SEELYE (3/22/00): About 30 people ("solicitors" in campaign finance jargon) brought $5,000 each and lunched on sesame-seared salmon and pistachio mousse with the vice president at small tables set up in the Wallachs' living room.
Three days later, Richard Oppel followed suit, reporting the latest in upscale edibles:
OPPEL (3/25/00): At a later dinner...33 people expected to donate $15,000 each were to dine on crabmeat parfait, quail stuffed with squash, and pecan pie.
Let’s say it again. Corresponding menus didn’t get published from Bush’s many fund-raising sinners. Sane people might be inclined to think that this was just a coincidence. But if you followed Seelye (and her editors) during Campaign 2000, you might have different instincts.

Yep! Fancy menus can be a great way to spread an idea about a Big Pol. Pistachio mousse? And crabmeat parfait? Such fancy-pants details let readers know that the pol isn’t an average person, like you and your favorite uncle may be. Meanwhile, Seelye never stopped with her clownish attempts to let readers know that Gore luvved Big Money. For example, here’s one of the ludicrous “news reports” she filed from Gore’s fund-raisers:
SEELYE (4/17/00): The sweet scent of jasmine wafted up the leafy hillsides, the lights of Los Angeles twinkled below, and the cash register ca-CHINGed until it was stuffed with $2.8 million.
Yes, the idiot Seelye actually wrote it—and the idiots who ran her put it in print. (For a fuller treatment of ca-CHINGS and menus from Campaign 2K, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/15/06.)

The Times dined out on Gore’s seared salmon. Seven years later, why is Healey sniffing around, keeping track of Clinton’s entrees? Who knows? It may be that he’s simply frustrated, lacking new ways to sniff Clinton’s sheets (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/25/06). But make no mistake. These fatuous people actually are David Brooks’ “dimwit over-class.” And their past behavior toward the Clintons and Gore has been as clear as a bell.

Did Klein read Healey’s message right? We don’t have the slightest idea. But almost surely, there’s more to come from the Times’ “Sole Man.” This time, we’re glad Ezra’s watching.

FRAMING THE SAINTS: If Clinton is the Dem nominee, how will our pundit over-class act? Wednesday morning, Mike Barnicle and Don Imus discussed their cohort’s greatest saints—the manly saints, Saints John and Rudy:
IMUS (1/3/07): [Giuliani] is leading in all the polls, isn’t he? But how long is that going to last?

BARNICLE: I think he’d be leading in all the polls right to the election! But I don’t—at least, the way I look at Republicans and the delegates to Republican conventions, there’s no way he can get that nomination....He can’t get it.

IMUS: McCain—can he get it?

BARNICLE: I would think so, yes.

IMUS: Well, I mean, that wouldn’t be the worst thing ever to happen to the country—John McCain.

BARNICLE: No, it wouldn’t. No, it wouldn’t. And you know, right now, anyone but this guy [Bush] and the guys around him would be better...
We noticed several things about this discussion—the kind of discussion which helps shape thinking about Campaign 08.

First, Giuliani isn’t “leading in all the polls.” Hillary Clinton beats him in several recent polls—and she leads McCain in some major polls too. (By seven points in the last Newsweek poll.) These polls aren’t hugely useful at this point. But the boys’ misstatement of this info struck us as perfectly typical.

Second, Clinton’s name never came up in the course of this discussion. (Obama and Edwards weren’t mentioned either.) Let’s get specific: Would Hillary Clinton “be better than this guy [Bush] and the guys around him?” The gentlemen never quite managed to say. They talked about their cohort’s saints. No other names need apply.

Let’s sketch in a bit of the background here. Barnicle is part of the pundit corps’ sprawling “Irish mafia”—an influential, numerous group (especially within NBC, where they rule). As a group, they led the attacks against Clinton and Gore, then supported Kerry in 04. But uh-oh! They don’t like the kind of “very nasal” woman they see in the person of Hillary Clinton (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/3/07). And yes, as self-described northeastern urban ethnics, they tend to identify with Saint Rudy. Saint John seems quite manly too.

Result? Rudy is “America’s Mayor.” And Rudy is “leading in all the polls.” One is a slogan, the other is false. But they’ll say such things till the cows come home—unless we find ways to stop them.

Doing so would be easier, of course, if liberal leaders hadn’t spent the past ten years working hard to avoid discussing this cohort’s conduct toward Clinton and Gore. We’ve worked quite hard to make ourselves marks—to keep voters barefoot and clueless.