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A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCE CAPS! Matthews’ panel had a dunce cap for Kerry. They should have worn it themselves: // link // print // previous // next //
SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2005

CONASON GETS IT RIGHT: On Friday, Joe Conason savaged “the Beltway herd” for trying to downplay the Downing Street memos. But omigod! We cheered as Joe took on Michael Kinsley for the sneering piece he had written last week (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/13/05). Kinsley mocked readers who interrupted his slumbers by asking his views on the Downing Street memo; after six weeks, he finally read it, and called his e-mailers big dopes. How stupid could they be, the mighty scribe asked. After all, everyone knew, in July 2002, that Bush had decided on war with Iraq! But Conason did what we should have done—he looked up what Kinsley had said in real time. Did everyone actually know in real time? What follows is the startling profile of a fallen man:
CONASON (6/17/05): Consider Michael Kinsley, the Los Angeles Times editorial page editor and columnist, who recently derided the memo's importance. According to him, "you don't need a secret memo" to know that "the administration's decision to topple Saddam Hussein by force" had been reached by then [by July 2002]. Anybody could tell that war was "inevitable," he wrote. "Just look at what was in the newspapers on July 23, 2002, and the day before," he wrote, citing an opinion column by Robert Scheer and a Times story about Pentagon war planning.

But let's also look at what Kinsley himself wrote on July 12, 2002, after those war plans were leaked. On the Post's Op-Ed page, he suggested that despite all the logistical planning and bellicose rhetoric, "Bush may be bluffing ...Or he may be lying, and the leak may be part of an official strategy of threatening all-out war in the hope of avoiding it, by encouraging a coup or persuading Hussein to take early retirement or in some other way getting him gone without a massive invasion."

So Kinsley himself wasn't quite certain whether Bush had decided on war, yet now he says we all knew.

Kinsley mocked his e-mailers in last Sunday’s papers—but now we can see what he said at the time. What ever happened to Michael Kinsley? Here at THE HOWLER, we have no idea. But we can hail Conason, and we can be glad that he’s still very much on the job. And we can ask you to ponder what Kinsley said in real time—and to recall, with utter disgust, the way he sneered at those mailers last week. As we’ve told you again and again, your public discourse is controlled by people like Kinsley. And these fallen souls will be in control until career liberal writers follow Joe’s path and drive the high fakers from power. Alas! Many young “liberal” writers are too busy themselves, playing kiss-kiss-kiss with power.

Special report—Sunday, pundit Sunday!

PART 5—A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCE CAPS: And the word went forth when the salaries were given—verily, when the fops would gather for Sunday, Pundit Sunday, their discussions would all be inane. On the seventh day, the brain cells would rest. And so it was on one program last weekend. Daft Nantucket talker Chris Matthews introduced his show’s second segment:

MATTHEWS (6/12/05): I’ll be right back with a college transcript surprise! Who do you think got better grades at Yale, if you care—Bush or Kerry? Stick around!
As Matthews spoke, pictures of Bush and Kerry appeared, over a tangy heading—“DUNCE CAPS.” Presumably, the phrase referred to Kerry and Bush, although when we listened to the Chris and his guests, the real recipients of the caps was very much thrown into doubt.

Because who else but a total dunce would spend a Sunday segment this way—debating the meaning of the college grades of two 60-ish politicians? Who but these foppists could possibly think that these grades are relevant to anything? Luckily, though, nothing had happened in the world this week, so the Gang of Five got to waste time on this. And when Matthews kicked off the discussion, they showed they were up to playing the fools as they put those caps on the pols. Matthews began with Julia Reed, a brain-dead Vogue high foppist:

MATTHEWS: We knew George Bush got gentlemanly C’s at Yale, but this week brought a brand-new twist to this story. You figured John Kerry for this college brainiac in last year’s election, right? Wrong! Bush’s four-year GPA—write this number down, ladies and gentlemen!—77, that what he got over four years at Yale. Kerry’s average at Yale—76. Julia, Kerry makes a different presentation than that, doesn’t he?

REED: People believed he was smarter than Bush because he worked on it—

MATTHEWS: He worked at the image.

REED: And they believed that he said “Who amongst us doesn’t like NASCAR” when it turned out he didn’t even say it, but he acted so much like the patrician intellectual complex guy the people fell for it. But you know the smartest thing he should have done was release those transcripts during the election because nobody wants to vote for the smartest guy in the room.

MATTHEWS: But he didn’t because he didn’t want to. Right? And that tells us a whole lot.

REED: That—yeah, it tells us a whole lot about his ego.

Yes, when the great gods of power go looking for tribunes, they look for the dumbest folk they can buy. Result? There were the idiots Matthews and Reed, living up to their contracts. All the corps’ scripts were nicely in place—Kerry was the phony with the big ego, while Bush was the natural man. But even in this opening bite, Matthews and Reed left out a few points. Why didn’t Kerry release his transcripts? It tells us a whole lot about his ego, they said. But of course, when Bush ran for the White House in Campaign 2000, he didn’t release his transcripts either! They were leaked to the press—and the Bush campaign complained. Here was the AP report:
ASSOCIATED PRESS (11/9/99): Someone at Yale University, alma mater of Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush, has divulged what are purported to be Bush's mediocre grades.

Bush, the governor of Texas, was tripped up by an impromptu foreign events quiz posed by a television reporter last week. His alleged transcript, published this week in The New Yorker magazine, shows a middling performance at Yale, even in political science and his major area of study, history.

The university refused to say whether the records are genuine. The campaign said the documents were not an official transcript.

The records reveal that on a scale where 100 is the top mark, Bush's grades were mostly in the 70s: a 71 in political science and economics, 75 in a course called city planning, and a 76 in a history class...

"He has chosen not to release his transcripts," Bush campaign spokesman Scott McClellan said. "What's relevant for a candidate is his ideas for America, his ability to lead and whether that candidate can bring people together to accomplish those priorities. Americans will grade Governor Bush on those qualities.”

Duh! Neither Bush nor Kerry released his transcript. But Matthews’ panel knew their script—Kerry was the one with the ego. And of course, they knew they mustn’t challenge their own foppish priesthood. Why did “people believe” that Kerry made that NASCAR statement? Duh! People believes it because five different scribes at the New York Times wrote the phony “fact” in the paper!(Including the sainted Dowd, Rich and Tierney.) And because, from that day to this, The Times hasn’t made a correction. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/02/04, to learn how dumb (and endlessly fake) these givers of dunce caps really are.

But verily, the word has long gone forth—there’s no topic so inane that Sunday pundits won’t discuss it. And there’s nothing so stupid that the pundits won’t say it once a discussion has begun. And of course, their Greatest God, Spin, must always be honored. Every great pundit script must be spun. They shall put no true gods before him:

MATTHEWS (continuing directly): You wrote a whole lot about this guy. Is he—what did you make of him on this front? Do you think he was pretending to be an academic brainiac or was it just something because of his manner?

REED: I think he’s been working on it his whole life. I mean, it’s telling that one of his highest grades was in French.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Verily, the great god, Spin, is a jealous god, and he wants his high priests to be idiots.

Of course, Matthews is one of the highest of priests. As usual, he was willing to stick his long nose right inside John Kerry’s marriage:

MATTHEWS: Here’s somebody who made this assumption, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who once said to me, “Well I really haven’t known my husband that long.” She’s not so shy here about suggesting her husband is flat-out smarter than President Bush! Listen up.

HEINZ KERRY (videotape, giving speech, 7/12/04): And we need above all a president who is not phased by complexity.

MATTHEWS: Andrew! She’s braggin’ on him!

Yes, that was the total statement by Heinz Kerry—the statement Matthews found so telling in light of those revealing college grades! There’s no way to capture the stupidity of adepts like Matthews, so we won’t even try to critique this inane, insinuative (and sheet-sniffing) comment. One question: When will a thigh-rubbing man like Matthews get his nose out of other couples’ lives?

But remember the rules about trashing of Dems! Soon, the discussion switched to Hillary Clinton, who was, Matthews said, “one of the smartest kids in the class.” Reed, bourbon-throated issue of a high, inbred family, had some great thoughts on this too:

REED: She is not a natural politician. She isn’t where she is right now just because she was the smartest chick in her class. I mean, she’s here right now because she was married to a president—

MATTHEWS: The bug. Excuse me. Joe [Klein], she got’s—you know about it, you’ve been covering politics—the bug. And a lot of times, you can see it in high school and college, even if they don’t get the grades. They’re the kid that runs the fraternity—George Bush. They’re the kid that runs the political union—John Kerry. Bill Clinton ran for class president every year. Right?

Actually, no—not right. How inane will these foppish priests be? On every single college campus, there are at least a dozen kids who are “running the fraternity.” But to Matthews, this means they somehow have “the bug” which somehow leads to a run for the White House. “You can see it in high school and college,” he said, killing time with his trademark inanity.

We’ve examined the Sunday pundits all week, discussing their puzzling characteristics. Yes, no liberals need apply—they love to trash Hillary, and Howard, and Kerry, “the smartest chick in her class.” Will working-class voices be heard on this shows? You have to be dreaming in Dreamland. And yes, they love to cover up for their own—their high priesthood makes no mistakes, nada, none. And yes, they can be inane all day long. They know the deal—they’re paid for this skill. It’s their high priesthood’s great calling.

But there’s one other thing they often do—lie. The conversation now turned to Joe Klein. And Joe issued another high whopper.

MONDAY—PART 6: Joe Klein’s pair-o-whoppers.

A PRIESTHOOD OF POWER: Kerry’s grades had been released as part of his full military records—records which once again gave the lie to most of the Swift Boat Veterans’ claims. Yep—the Swift Boat Vets were shot down again. So readers, what did the panel say about that? Of course! The great panel said nothing! The Swift Boat Veterans were agents of power—and power is what these pundits are paid to serve. Result? The scribes all mocked Kerry’s college grades. And the Swift Boat Vets sailed off again.

SHEET-SNIFFER CHRIS: For the record, here’s the remark Matthews cadged to stick his nose into Kerry’s marriage. Matthews interviewed Heinz Kerry on Hardball last July. Why does any decent person ever sit with this sheet-sniffing man?

MATTHEWS (7/25/04): Let me ask you, why does he want to be president?

HEINZ KERRY: Why does he?

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HEINZ KERRY: John has always wanted to serve, from what I understand. I have only known him a short time—ten years or 11. But certainly, his idea of public service is an idea that's much more—that's much broader than what one would normally think.

He believes, for instance, that Peace Corps volunteers are a public servant. In that sense, informally, a nurse and teacher are public servants. Doctors and priests and nuns, they are all public servants. They took care of the well-being of people.

And in the larger context, we all have not only have an opportunity, but really a society has a need for our involvement through works as a volunteer, which Americans do, in hospitals and auxiliaries and symphonies to enhance the quality of life for everyone.

It is a great way to do it. And so, going to government to do that is an extension of that sense of opportunity and responsibility.

MATTHEWS: People say that he's not very passionate in public. When he talks about these things in private, do you have a sense of how—how can you convey his passionate love of the country?

HEINZ KERRY: I don't think he would have volunteered to fight if he didn't believe passionately in his country, and that he had a duty to his country. I don't think he would have become a prosecutor and pursued the law, and brought women lawyers to almost 50-50 in his Middlesex County—in the office.

And it was a pursuit of justice. And I don't think that he would have joined the Vietnam Veterans when he came back to try to stop the war. Which was not an easy thing to do, it was hard. And I did it because he felt an obligation.

So there is passion. People show their passion in different ways, you know.

And we all know how Matthews shows off his “passions.” One year later, the sheet-sniffer cadged that innocuous, highlighted comment to make a weird insinuation. Question: Why does anyone ever sit down with this sick, sheet-sniffing man?