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DEATH WISH! If Rich and Blow didn’t exist, the RNC would have to invent them: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010

The whole gang is there: Here at THE HOWLER, we were sorry to see Matt Yglesias make his debut in the Washington Post. It happened this Sunday. For his fiery words, just click here.

This debut continues a pattern in which fiery young “liberals” advance their careers through the Post—and less often, through the New York Times. Almost surely, this helps explain the miserable state in which the liberal/progressive world finds itself. In this world, an aggressive conservative press corps assails our pitiful “mainstream” press corps—while a toothless “liberal” press corps looks away, measuring words.

Fiery young liberals have been advancing themselves through the Post for decades now. Let’s start in late 1999, when Milbank and Lane took jobs at the Post, having spent the previous year at The New Republic failing to notice the ugly war the paper was waging on Candidate Gore. After Milbank and Lane took their earnings, Peter Beinart took over at TNR—and he kept his fiery trap shut too! In 2004, he got his reward—the semi-regular column in the Post which persisted through early 2009. During this period, he was also publishing, though less frequently, in the New York Times.

His most recent piece in the Times appeared last Sunday.

Just last month, the Post hired Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel as a regular columnist, apparently planning to kill off the liberal/progressive movement by boring adherents to death. But then, a steady stream of fiery liberals have found their way to the Post, including Ezra Klein, Greg Sargent and Garance Franke-Ruta, along with the people we’ve already mentioned. (We’re probably omitting a few.)

Question: Does this affect what fiery young liberals write about the Post?

Answer: Of course it does!

Result: Young conservatives pound away at the “liberal” Post—and our own side’s fiery young strivers measure the word which fall from their lips, careful not to offend. Ezra Klein’s peculiar choices in 2006 remain the apparent example which we find most intriguing. But then, let’s not forget the ways your fiery leaders kiss the keister of power at NBC/MSNBC too.

There are three stages to this syndrome. Only the last two are wrong.

First stage: No, there’s nothing wrong with “liberals” appearing on Hardball.

Second stage: There is something wrong when “liberal” editors appear on Hardball, while strangely failing to publish a word about Chris Matthews’ actual career in their fiery journals. About the vast harm he has done to liberal causes, and to the American interest. About his inexcusable conduct, which was at its worst in the Clinton and early Bush years. (In that era, “liberals” loved to yell about Rupert Murdoch—and they loved to enable Jack Welch.)

Third stage: It gets unbearable when liberal editors go on Hardball (after shutting their journals to the truth) and start praising Matthews’ vast greatness—even his vast Irish greatness. Sorry—at that point, the wh*ring is unacceptably clear. Our analysts cover their mouths and run for the yard. Sometimes, they don’t make it.

We were sorry to see that Yglesias by-line. But this is a long sorry tale about power, in which your side has been greatly harmed.

DEATH WISH (permalink): If Cathy Areu didn’t exist, the RNC would have to invent her.

The hapless Areu is a large feather-weight even by the standards of her apparent employer, the Washington Post. On Friday afternoon, she went on MSNBC to display this unfortunate trait. That evening, Bill O’Reilly snapped her up, letting her show his 4 million viewers how fatuous and condescending we liberals really are.

O’Reilly opened his show with Areu. (He knows a useful tool when he spots one.) To watch that full segment, click here. We can’t find tape of Areu’s segment on MSNBC, which was far dumber than her subsequent O’Reilly appearance.

(On MSNBC, Areu stressed the more self-defeating of her two talking-points: As a writer, I’m offended when Sarah Palin says she doesn’t read. If this person didn’t exist, the RNC—or Fox News itself—would surely have to invent her. That said, even Fox might not be able to imagine such an intense political death wish among us pseudo-liberals.)

Areu is inane to the point of disturbance—inane in the condescending ways which have fueled liberal defeat through the years, since the rise of Nixon and Reagan. Luckily, Areu’s ten minutes will quickly pass. Not so for Charles Blow and the inexcusably dishonest Frank Rich, who seem determined to engineer Democratic defeat this November.

If Charles Blow didn’t exist, the RNC would have to invent him. He served those masters with this inane column in Saturday’s New York Times.

In his column, Blow argues the one political point we pseudo-liberals know how to argue: Those who disagree with us must surely be snarling racists! His clowning begins with a ludicrous claim: Charles Blow went to a Tea Party rally on Tax Day expecting to find lots of racial diversity! How inane does a person have to be to be shocked—shocked—by the lack of blacks at a Tea Party rally? Consider:

In 2008, only four percent of black voters voted for John McCain, the Republican candidate. The reasons for this would be fairly obvious: First, Republicans never get much of the black vote. (For exit poll data through the years, click this. In 2000, Gore beat Bush, 90-8, among black voters.) Second, in 2008, a black candidate, Barack Obama, was running on the Democratic line. Given the fact that blacks comprised only 13 percent of the vote in 2008, this would suggest that less than one percent of McCain’s vote in 2008 came from black voters.

Despite this rather well-known pattern, Blow went to a Tea Party event last week and was shocked—shocked!—to find that there weren’t a whole lot of blacks in the crowd! (Duh. The Tea Party largely arose in opposition to Obama’s policies.) Warning: Aside from the sheer inanity of this passage, Blow misstates a bone-simple fact:

BLOW (4/18/10): I had specifically come to this rally because it was supposed to be especially diverse. And, on the stage at least, it was. The speakers included a black doctor who bashed Democrats for crying racism, a Hispanic immigrant who said that she had never received a single government entitlement and a Vietnamese immigrant who said that the Tea Party leader was God. It felt like a bizarre spoof of a 1980s Benetton ad.

The juxtaposition was striking: an abundance of diversity on the stage and a dearth of it in the crowd, with the exception of a few minorities like the young black man who carried a sign that read ''Quit calling me a racist.''

[...]

It was a farce. This Tea Party wanted to project a mainstream image of a group that is anything but. A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Wednesday found that only 1 percent of Tea Party supporters are black and only 1 percent are Hispanic. It's almost all white.

In fact, in the New York Times/CBS poll, three percent of Tea Party supporters were Hispanic, not one. (This morning, long after Blow’s error appeared, the error sits uncorrected on the hapless newspaper’s site.)

It’s almost all white! (Too funny.) Because accurate information still matters, let’s quickly note the racial/ethnic breakdowns which emerged in the Times/CBS poll: Among Tea Party supporters, 89 percent said they were white; one percent said they were black; one percent said they were Asian; six percent said they were “other.” In a separate question, three percent said they were Hispanic. Click here, scroll ahead to question 108.

In the general population, 77 percent said they were white. That is, in many ways, the key number in the New York Times/CBS poll.

Why is that stray number the key? Crackers! Because the electorate this November will be overwhelmingly white. Almost surely, whites (especially older whites) will vote at a disproportionate rate—it’s an “off-year election,” after all—with Tea Party supporters leading the charge. In the context of an electorate which is overwhelmingly white, “liberals” who “argue” as Blow does in his piece seem to have an electoral death wish. We say that because Blow “argues” one point in his column, and one point alone:

If you don’t agree with me, that proves you’re a snarling racist! This is a very weak claim on the merits, of course. (Can anyone recall conservative reaction to Clinton, Clinton and Gore?) On the politics, it’s a virtual death wish. Indeed, how hopeless does Blow’s presentation get? Go ahead! Laugh out loud at this unintentionally comical death wish, which continues the passage we quoted above:

BLOW: It was a farce. This Tea Party wanted to project a mainstream image of a group that is anything but. A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Wednesday found that only 1 percent of Tea Party supporters are black and only 1 percent are Hispanic. It's almost all white.

And even when compared to other whites, their views are extreme and marginal. For instance, white Tea Party supporters are twice as likely as white independents and eight times as likely as white Democrats to believe that Barack Obama was born in another country.

Furthermore, they were more than eight times as likely as white independents and six times as likely as white Democrats to think that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites.

Too funny! Even when compared to other whites, the views of Tea Party whites are extreme and marginal! We won’t even bother explaining the logic of that comical construction. We’ll only say that columns like this are utterly hopeless on the merits—and represent an electoral death wish.

What’s wrong with this column? Let us count the two ways:

First: Blow discusses nothing but race and alleged racial motivation, which he is forced to mind-read. In an electorate which may be 80 percent white in the fall, this would be amazingly risky, even if Blow were able to construct persuasive arguments about motivation. Needless to say, he doesn’t. Question: If President Hillary Clinton had pursued the same policies Obama has pursued, what do you think conservatives would be saying about her? (In our view, these policies have made basic sense. But crackers! That wasn’t our question!)

(By the way: 74 percent of white Tea Party supporters said Obama doesn’t favors blacks over whites. But you had to study Blow’s graphic with care, then reason a bit on your own, to come up with this fact. Question: Are these 74 percent a gang of snarling racists too? Or is it just the 26? In his actual text, Blow fails to tell us if every white Tea Party supporter is driven by race. Or is it just the people whose specific assessments he disfavors?)

Second, and possibly worse: In columns like this, people like Blow yell race, then grandly exit the stage. In the process, they develop no political argument at all; the whole of “liberal” argument is thereby reduced to assertions about racial motives. In our view, the political views of Tea Party supporters are pretty much full of holes, as has been true for decades. But people like Blow don’t waste their time on that. They simply yell race, thus proving their grandeur, then retire to the cheers of the crowd.

Our side yells race—and we say nothing else. In similar ways, losers like Blow have enabled conservative hegemony for the past fifty years. Truly, if Blow didn’t exist, the RNC would have to invent him. Meanwhile:

Frank Rich pretty much wrote the same damn column, as he pretty much does every week (click here). Minor differences: Where Blow can’t even record basic data, Rich basically lies in your face about this “typical column,” to which he links, after baldly misstating its contents. But then, Rich has long been full of contempt for your intelligence and your interests—and he’s plainly one of the dumbest people in all of American journalism. In 2000, he spent the whole year telling readers that Bush and Gore were two peas in a pod. In 2006, he told Don Imus that Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was like one of those films they made you watch in high school.

Please don’t make us give more examples. But yes. Frank Rich is that dumb!

The blunderbuss Rich has spent his career getting Republicans elected. With the help of his hapless colleague, Blow, he grandly parades on. Let’s face it: If Rich and Blow didn’t exist, the RNC would have to invent them. By 2012, they may even have found a way to help get Obama defeated. (As Rich worked so hard to help defeat Gore, the guy who was just like Bush.) If modern history serves as a guide, discouraged “liberals” will then retreat from the scene, staging their next 30-year hibernation.

Given the perilous mess we’re now in, could we survive it this time?