THE DIVINE RIGHT OF PUNDITS! Krugman has some decent ideas. Robinson has a sense of entitlement: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2008
YOU MAY HAVE BEEN WITH STUPID: Yesterday, an e-mailer said that our choice for commissar has done previous posts which explain who he was talking about. His example went back some days. But he may have been right.
That said, it looks like well be talking about racial issues a lot. We think that could be a very good thing. Our general view: Many white liberals have been trained to speak carefully about African-Americans (thats good, for the most part), but not about working-class whites (thats bad). We think the future includes all groups. Indeed, we think that Obamas message.
THE DIVINE RIGHT OF PUNDITS: Barack Obama will likely be the Democratic nominee in the fall. If thats what happens, its fine with usbut will he be able to win in November? We can imagine him winning bigand we can imagine him losing. But we were struck by the way two pundits discussed this important question today. Their efforts made us consider two issuesrace, and the sense of entitlement.
Lets start with Paul Krugman, who has favored Clinton, talking about what has to be done to help Obama win. In particular, Krugman discusses the things that have to be done to encourage blue-collar white Democratsa group which includes so-called Reagan Democratsto cast their lot with Obama:
We agree with both those points (most Obama supporters have not launched tirades)but lets start with the second. Many pseudo-liberals dont quite seem to know it, but the imputation of racism to working-class whites is one of the long-established pleasures of pseudo-liberal culture. Its quite routinely donefrequently, in Krugmans own newspaper. Question: Did some working-class whites vote against Obama this week due to race? Presumably yesthough we dont know how many. But in this short op-ed piece in Tuesdays Times, we once again saw that class condescension at work. An Indiana novelist quoted another writera writer who somehow seemed to know how Hoosier rubes would be voting:
Did some Indianans think and vote that way? We would assume that some did. (How many? We have no idea.) But here again, we see how easily upscale liberals cast sweeping aspersions about those white rubes. Last week, we saw a similar format as the Times interviewed upscale folk at an upscale mall, asking them how the downstate rubes would be voting. (Racially, the upscale swells said. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/2/08.) But these presumptions and condescensions are deeply ingrained in pseudo-liberal cultureso ingrained that many white liberals dont even seem to notice. Libs and Dems have long become quite expert at losing votes this way. We issue sweeping statements about vast groups of people, then wonder why they sometimes get mad.
Typically, white liberals avoid such sweeping assertions about African-Americans (good). But uh-oh! When it comes to sweeping assertions about downscale white rubes, sorry folksnot so much.
At any rate, we agree with Krugman on that point; Democrats would be well advised to avoid making sweeping statements about racist white rubes. (On the other hand, wed like to see newspapers do more reporting about these important questions.) But Krugmans first point is valid too; if Democrats want to win in November, Obama supporters would be well advised to avoid tirades against Clinton. Most Obama supporters have done just thatand Obama himself has avoided that route. But then, theres Gene Robinson in todays Post. The gentleman launches a trademark tiradeand, to us, he advertised his majestic sense of entitlement.
We know, we knowby all press corps scripts, its Clinton who feels so entitled. And no one knows such scripts better than Gene. He launched that particular Standard Assessment in todays opening paragraph:
Perfect scripting! Pundits have recited these things for yearsand they said the same sorts of things about Gore. They feel entitled to make sweeping assessments of character and motive, even after it has become quite clear that they are the worlds worst judges of same. For two years, they trashed Gores character, endlessly misstating facts to do so; rather than apologize or explain, they simply started right in again, this time trashing Clinton. How vast is this cohorts sense of entitlement? Just yesterday, George Will felt entitled to put that Cubs/Yankees bullsh*t in a headline on this same page, nine years after it became quite clear that this Press Construct was blather. But nothing stops them from typing their scriptsand nothing destroys the sense that theyre entitled to say things as dumb as the statement which follows. In this passage, Robinson is discussing those white, blue-collar Dems who may (or may not) vote for Obama:
Truly, its hard to get dumber. Why might these people vote for McCain? Perhaps because theyre part of that group long described as Reagan Democrats? In short, people in this group have sometimes voted Republican beforeyou may have heard the term swing votersand some may vote Republican again (in part, thanks to the effort by Robbys crowd to make McCain into a sun god). Everyone knows this, including third-graders. Everyone but Gene, that is. By virtue of his lofty standing, he has always felt entitled to say any goldarn thing he might pleaseeven things like that.
In his column, Robinson launches a major tirade against something Clinton recently said. Her statement was clumsyand for ourselves, we find it hard to believe theres a way for her to get nominated. But if its the sense of entitlement were discussing, we were struck by that very quality in the passage which follows. Robinson does what his cohort has always done, the thing which sent George Bush to the White House. Well offer you the whole passage in question. And well highlight the place where we see that remarkable sense of entitlement:
As weve said, Clintons statement was clumsy. But talking about race is hard, and Robinsons scruples to the side, the AP report was discussing a potential problem for Obama. What sorts of things might people do to encourage Reagan Democrat types to vote for Obama? In our view, Krugman made some decent suggestions; Dems should be thinking of many more. By contrast, Robinson threw a tirade, in which he showcased his sense of entitlement. As these people have always done, he felt entitled to tell the world what Clinton is really saying these days. In his recitation, of course, Clinton was really saying a rather vile thing. But people like Robinson have plied this trade for a very long time now.
Good old Robinson! As you may recall, he and his deeply entitled colleagues always knew what Gore was really saying. He was really saying that he invented the Internet! He was really saying that he discovered Love Canaland that he inspired Love Story! No, Gore didnt actually say those thingsbut thanks to their remarkable powers, the pundits could tell that he really had said them! Scum-bags like Robinson gamboled and played; he himself, in a massive sense of entitlement, waved three punishing profiles into print as Gore tried to launch his campaign. Has any candidate ever been profiled this way? Thanks to Robinson, Gore was the vanilla pudding of the species (Kevin Merida); he had even giggled like a girl at one point, said Ceci Connolly.
Robinson laid it on thick in those days, secure in his cohorts brilliant judgments. The dead of Iraq thank him for it today. But by the divine right of pundits, he is back at work this morning, this time explaining what Clinton is really sayingand, of course, making a truly odd statement about those white blue-collar Dems.
The sense of entitlement is never far when you read the Posts op-ed page. You saw it yesterday in that Cubs/Yankees headlinea headline which kept promoting a fraud nine years after the fraud was debunked. But then, fraud is one of this groups chief entitlements. They pimp their frauds is by letting us know what people they hate really said.
BIG RED: We really wouldnt have thought that Chris Matthews could still surprise usbut we were startled by the way he laughed, chortled and haw-hawed last night. He was laughing at the comical notion that the votes of Puerto Ricans are part of the Dem nomination fight. Duh! Everyone knows that Puerto Rico is part of the nomination processand pundits have long discussed the way the Puerto Rican vote could help Clinton win the overall popular vote. But Christopher was, as always, surprisedand he thought the idea was absurd on its face. Late in the show, Phil Bronstein embarrassed himself as only these fools know how to:
Bronstein, you are something! Chris said. And the talker had a point. Asked about the votes of Puerto Ricans, Bronstein just couldnt help himself. He pictured donkeys voting.
Of course, Chris also surprised us with his newly-red hair; he must have inherited Strom Thurmonds stylist. And since weve been discussing entitlement, just ask yourself this: If a Big Major Dem changed his color that way, how would these simpering losers react? Does Chris Matthews even know who he is? Its a question these clowns have long turned to.
Update: Comedian Jeff Caldwell e-mails his nickname: Chris Matthews, the russet ranter.
So none of this is about the Two Big Dems, or about the other Democrats who understand the peculiar politics of this unfortunate subject. These posts have been about Worlds Dumbest Man Richard Cohen, and about Lady Collins, the vaunted folk-singer; each of them told us, in the past few months, that Clinton lacks Obamas character because of these flag proposals. Yes, Obama and Clinton cast the same votes. But Cohen and Collins sang the same song: They could tell that Clinton lacked Obamas high character because of her troubling stance.
But so it has gone, for the past sixteen years, as these people have novelized politicsas theyve told you the stories they like about at least three Big Huge Dems.
So this isnt about Obama or Clinton; it isnt about who should be the Dem nominee. This is about the upper-end press corps, and their astounding effort, down through the years, to peddle silly, bogus stories designed to make you hate who they hate. Might we state simple facts for a moment? When people deceive the public this way in financial industries, they are soon singing their folk songs in jail. But Cohen and Collins have done this for years. In their business, this leads to promotions.
More background: None of this conduct is new for these people. They sold you bogus stories during Campaign 2000, when they simply hated Gore and worked quite hard to make you do so. At some point, liberals and Dems have to come to their senses and see the shape of this world. But we mortals, built in the way we are, love to play our shirts-and-skins politics. Doggone it! A smart, valued reader took mild offense and e-mailed us on Tuesday:
Aaarrgh! The 2005 Clinton-Bennett bill was designed as a CYA measure. As we noted on Tuesday, the House passed the flag-burning amendment in 2005; this was the bill originally designed to give political cover to Senate Dems (and one or two Senate Reps) who wanted to stop the amendment. The Senate vote didnt come until 2006, and the Clinton-Bennett bill was changed a bit at the last minute. But just for the record, here is Obamas official statement about that original bill. This appears in the Congressional Record on the day of the 2006 vote. Bill Willis posted this some time ago, Chez Kos. Bill Willis knows his stuff:
No biggie. But to all appearances, Clinton and Obama took the same positions on these bills, in every way possible. As we said in Parts 1 and 2, everyone knows why these machinations occur. Everyone except Cohen, that is.
But the press corps wont tolerate matters like this, in which Senate Dems do what they must, as a group, to achieve an obvious objective. The corps has a loathing for the Clintons and Gorenor is the press corps especially bright. Result? When Clinton co-sponsors a bill most Senate Dems will vote for, familiar words are quickly used in editorials like this:
Duh! It was an attempt to have it both ways, you numb-skullsthats the whole point of bills like this! But no matter! In this passage, the know-nothing Times explains why this effort was pandering on Clintons part:
There certainly wasn't any urgent need to resolve the issue? Good God! The House of Reps had already passed the flag-burnng amendment; even with the use of this safety-valve bill, the amendment eventually failed to pass the Senate by only one vote! But words like pander have long been pleasing when applied to the Clintons and Gore. Eight days later, Know-Nothing Cohen whipped off a ten-minute wonder:
Truly, its hard to get dumber. As noted, the House had already passed the amendment which would have ended flag-burnings reign as constitutionally protected speech. Cohen seemed to have no idea that the Bennett-Clinton bill was designed to address that problem. He blundered ahead in his usual way, and soon he was typing the novel long typed about the Clintons and Gore. Please remember the basic rules: For a ten-minute quickie about these people, just scatter pander and posture all through your copy. And oh yes! Be sure to say this: You dont know who [Clinton/Gore] is:
What a fool! In response, Bob Kerrey took crayon in hand and wrote the letter designed to clue Cohen about life as its lived on this planet (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/6/08). Useless! Years later, Cohen typed another ten-minute wonder about how Clintons vote on the flag bill proved that she lacked Obamas wonderful character. He corrected that (in small print) the next week, after a reader let him know that Obamalike most Senate Demshad voted the same way as Clinton.
Oh by the way: Did we mention that Anti-Obama Girl also raged about Clintons vast perfidy? It came two days after that Times editorial. People, be sure to say triangulate/parse when typing this Standard Old Novel:
Pander, triangulate, posture and parse! These are the columns which type themselves up. When this was done to Gore for two years, our country was sent to Iraq.
The moral of this story is clear. Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a bill which (in slightly modified form) more than half of the Senates Dems supported. She voted the same way Obama did; he seems to have praised her original offering. But Clinton was called every name in the book, as is required in The Big Book of Scripts. And in just the last three months, three major columns in the Post and the Times have cited these very issues as the proof that Hillary Clinton lacks Obamas high character.
We say three columns because, along with Cohen and Collins, there was also the piece by Jeffrey Rosen. It appeared in the Times on March 1. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Were puzzled by what Rosen wrote. (For the record: Unlike Cohen and Collins, Rosen isnt a serial harlequin. We e-mailed yesterday and this morning asking for comment. Well pass along whatever we get.) On civil liberties matters, Rosen prefers Obama to Clinton; that is perfectly fine with us. But were puzzled by that last paragraph, since Obama seems to have issued high praise for that original bill. As we said, well pass on whatever Rosen sends us.
Theres much more to cringe at in this matter, of course, including the people who wrote that Clinton had supported a flag-burning amendment. (Omigod! Noam Scheiber! In the Washington Monthly! Still uncorrected on Nexis!) Much of the commentary is deeply gruesome, once you know that Clintons triangulatingposturingpander represented the stance of most Senate Democrats. But we thought wed leave you with one perfect squelch. On June 27, 2006, more than half the Senates Dems voted for the flag-burning bill. Two days later, in the Los Angeles Times, you-know-who swung into action:
Even proponents of the amendment admit that there have been just four incidents of flag desecration this year and about 50 in the last five years, Arianna said, with cosmic irrelevance. But for Clinton, it's stars, stripes and triangulation forever. A few months later, she sounded off in the Playboy interview:
What was that about? Were not sure. Why not ask Obama or Durbin? Why not ask all the Big Senate Dems who voted the same way she did?
Your political life is lived in a novel. A hapless elite types it up. If its a case of the Clintons or Gore, they know they must always type parse/posture/pander. Darlings, this is High Pundit Law! After that, its off to the club, where they drink themselves under the table.
The Lady Collins is folk-singing there. Weve looked at life from one side now, she warbles. After that, she names some small towns, and everyone shares a good laugh.