PURDUM DRINKS THE EVERCLEAR! Todd got rolled by Wasillas top shrinks, like famous fools before him: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, JULY 6, 2009
About the Weymouths: Oh for gods sake! We may have confused out Weymouth nicknames in Fridays report (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/3/09). Apparently, theres only one Lally Weymouth; thats the daughter of Katharine Graham, the occasional foreign policy writer. We thought Katharine Weymouth, the grand-daughter and current CEO, was called that too. Or something like that.
You must state your questions in the form of a letter: Credit where due! Readers of the Washington Post are permitted to see sensible overviews of the health reform debate. Indeed, such an overview was permitted in Fridays letters section! The writer critiqued George Wills recent ludicrous column, in much the same way we had done (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/29/09). And omigod! He even cited those basic, astonishing facts about the foreign experience:
The writer asked the worlds most obvious questions. Unless youre a mainstream journalist, in which case such questions must never be asked.
For the past fifteen years, your press corps (and your career liberal world) have failed to ask those obvious questionshave failed to trumpet that letters astonishing facts. For that reason, were now assembling a Rube Goldberg health care machine, with an astounding array of possible whistles and levers driving the projected contraption. From Shailagh Murray in todays Post:
Murray described a depressing array of possible whistles and levers. We were struck by this possible lever, the first:
That person would pay a large chunk of his incometo help his country attain what Japan already has at half the per capita cost! In return for his contribution, hell get an insurance policy hell rarely use if hes young and healthy.
But dont worry! It isnt a tax!
Murray describes the invention of a vast Rube Goldberg machine. If her readers perused Fridays letter, they may be struck by the sheer absurdity of what she (accurately) describes.
Most readers wont be so lucky. The facts and figures in that letter have been mentioned quite sparingly in the past fifteen years. Under terms of a manufactured consent, that letters questions have very rarely been asked.
Gigantic sums are thereby shoveled into various corporate pockets. Who is raking off those sums? Except in the very occasional letter, youre not encouraged to ask.
Todays good news: Lady Weymouth has canceled that health care salon. It would have been held right in her home. The session would have been off the recordand it would have sponsored by Kaiser.
PURDUM DRINKS THE EVERCLEAR: In September 2008, Sarah Palin became the worst nominee for president/vice president in modern political history. For starters, she was young and unprepared. Beyond that, she simply didnt seem to be smart enough. And she was baldly dishonest.
On balance, Palin was a horrible candidate. But when it comes to dumb and dishonest, she cant hold a candle to the upper-class poovs who cover her comings and goings.
How dumb is Todd Purdum, to cite one example? Purdum is so dumband dishonestthat hes cited by Maureen Dowd!
Maureen Dowd you already know. Purdum is the gruesome husband of former Clinton aide Dee Dee Myersand a star at Vanity Fair. Last July, he published one of the most repulsive political profiles weve ever seena supremely slick/slippery hatchet job aimed at the vile one, Bill Clinton. Among other things, Clinton called Purdum a really dishonest reporter, a real slimy guy and a scumbag. And uh-oh! Bill Clinton was right!
Currently, though, Purdum is a liberal hero, revered for his repeat-all-the-tropes-for-the-rubes-in-the-Hamptons pseudo-profile of Palin.
How surpassingly stupid (or dishonest) is Purdum? What follows is one of the passages from his profilea passage to which the hapless Dowd refers in her current column. But then, many pundits inside Versailles walls have gaped at the discovery reported in this passage.
By way of background: Purdum had journeyed to the forty-ninth state, hoping to get the real dope on its governor. And this is what he learned:
Wow! Several Alaskans told Purdum, independently of one another, that they thought the DSM definition of narcissistic personality order perfectly fit their governor! Purdum is paid to understand politics, yet he was simply amazed by this factor at least was prepared to pretend. (Note: For people like Purdum, several means two.) On Sunday, a world-class dimwit repeated this news, as others in her cohort have done:
Actually, noyou cant get dumber. Why is that dumb? Heres why:
As everyone except a professional political journalist would know, it has been quite common, for years, to say that [insert name of disfavored pol] perfectly fits the DSM definition of that disorder. For example:
Yesterday, we googled Bush AND narcissistic personality disorder. The third citation came from a New York magazine piecea piece from January 2007. The piece was written by John Heilemann, a gentleman who is less completely clueless than ninnies like Purdum and Dowd:
Duh. As Heileman noted more than two years ago, that armchair diagnosis had been routinely extended to Bush for some time now. Meanwhile, just google Obama AND narcissistic personality disorder! Youll see that this troubling diagnosis has been extended to the current president even more than to the last one. But Purdum was simply blown away when [two] people extended this diagnosis to Palinindependently of one another! The imbecile Dowd was so gobsmacked that she rushed Purdums finding into print.
Might we state the merely obvious? This familiar diagnosis got extended to Palin as soon as she hit the national stage. Yesterday, we googled Palin AND narcissistic personality disorder. The third citation was this expert amateur diagnosis from (where else?) The Huffington Post. It appeared on October 16, 2008. The fourth citation was this expert amateur diagnosis from The Daily Kos. It appeared last October 6. In short: In all fifty states, people like Purdums [two] sources began to hear this diagnosis soon after Palin got picked by McCain. He hardly had to mush to Alaska to pick up on this news.
Is Purdum so dumb that he didnt know this? Or is he just pretending? Is he just a really dishonest scumbag, the way Bill Clinton said? As always, there is no way to tell. But might we offer a note about psychiatric writing like this?
For obvious reasons, journalists have long been discouraged from offering psychiatric diagnoses of major politicians. Had Purdum offered that diagnosis of Palin himself, he would have been laughed out of the business. Question: How does a dishonest scumbag escape the bounds of this convention? Simple! He simply quotes several regular people independently offering the diagnosis! That way, he gets the diagnosis bruited around. But he isnt the one who said it!
Back to our original conundrum: Is Purdum really that dumb, or is he just being dishonest? Lets assume hes really that dumb. This recalls an historical precedent.
In service to the American people, Purdum journeyed to darkest Alaska. He was amazed when several people cited that DSM diagnosis. Its hard not to think of Gene Lyons portrait in Fools for Scandalhis portrait of the big national reporters who arrived in Arkansas in 1992 and got played for perfect fools by a gang of resident yokels.
Arkansas journalists had long stopped listening to these well-known local nuts, Lyons wrote. But when our journalistic elite arrived in Little Rock, they got taken to the cleaners by this gang of crackpots and knaves. Soon, elite reporters began repeating the crackpot claims Arkansans had learned to ignore. By 1999, Gennifer Flowers was being dragged onto cable shows (Hardball and Hannity) for half-hour and hour-long segments. During these segments, she discussed, at considerable length, the Clintons many murders.
The trashing of Clinton made a huge difference. Because she wasnt going anywhere anyway, the trashing of Palin will not. But Purdum is slippery, dishonestunwell. And one more thing: If he isnt pretending to be amazed, hes about as dumb as they come!
But then, its hard to get dumber than Purdum. Hes so dumb, he gets cited by Dowd!
Henneberger blown away too: Could life-forms of this earth be this dumb? We wondered when we read Melinda Hennebergers reaction to Purdums profile. Sure enough, the former New York Times reporter was blown away by the DSM diagnosis too! Anyway, what grabbed me in the piece was Purdum's reporting that the feeling back in Alaska is that Palin has some of the symptoms associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So wrote Henneberger, whose peculiar 1997 news report helped invent a tragic claim: Al Gore says he inspired Love Story! Inane columns by Dowd and Frank Rich had started the wave. Hennebergers odd, lengthy news report set the tale into stone.
She was on the same page with Dowd back then. Theyre on the same page today.
Make no mistakethat Love Story bull crap sent Bush to the White House. It was the first building-block of the press corps foundational theme for Campaign 2000: Gore is a liar, just like Clinton! To visit Henneberger today, brace yourselves, then click here.
Naughty boy spanks Naughty Monkeys: Dowd was eager to repeat other blather from Purdums pseudo-profile. Maybe theres another red Naughty Monkey high heel to drop, the simpering lady musedechoing a reference from a naughty fellows report.
In his profile, Myers husband described a recent appearance by Palin, furiously diddling himself as he did. This comes from his second paragraph:
Palin double dared to wear such shoes when she was introduced by McCain last August. Silly, sex-starved boys like Purdum have been stroking themselves about her peek-a-boo footwear ever since. So have silly journalistic women. Go check Henneberger again. Truly, it just never ends.
Drinking the Everclear: Lets be frank. Purdum is paid to hack to the Hamptons crowdto reinforce their world views. That may be why he typed the following passage. This is the part of his tired profile we ourselves found most striking:
Palin was a terrible candidateunprepared and dishonest. But the view along many towns front drag is of Chilis, ihop, Home Depot, Target, and Arbys. Has Purdum, a rather grand Princeton man, never been to such towns? Or was he just letting the darlings know that Chilis is all this pathetic town has? After all, its a town where they drink white lightnin (151-proof Everclear). Or so he slickly suggests.
Palin could only have come from Wasilla? Its hard to know just what that could mean. Presumably, it would have been harder for someone so young and so lacking to get elected governor in some other statesin states with larger populations, for example.
But people with Palins political views get elected in many states. Palin could only have come from Wasilla? Do we really know what that means?
Final query: In the mind of a fellow like Purdum, what does it mean to be a gun nut? (More specifically, to be a foursquare Democrat and a gun nut?) He doesnt feel the need to say. But then, Purdum is paid to reinforce the predispositions of upscale subscriber rubes. In such profiles, finer peoplepeople like Purdumhave always suggested that Palin is really just trailer trash. The kind of trash which hails from towns with Arbys, white lightin and gun nuts.
Purdum comes from a finer classthe class of upper-end scum-bags. But god almighty! How dumb is this man? So dumb he gets cited by Dowd!
Then again, lets try to be fair. Sure, he got rolled by [two] Wasilla shrinks, not unlike those fools for scandal before him. But lets be fair as we judge this mans work. It may be that he drank the Everclear before hearing their diagnosis.
Drinking the straight gin martinis: Did Purdum get into the Everclear? If so, it wouldnt the first time for this hapless elite! One of the original fools for scandal produced a famously bungled Whitewater report after having lost a battle with four to six straight gin martinis.
The reporter in question was L. J. Davis; his bungled 1994 report appeared in (what else?) The New Republic, published by (who else?) Andrew Sullivan. (This was just after Sully published Betsy McCaugheys famously bungled report about the Clinton health plan.) On April 23, 1994, Howard Kurtz did a lengthy report on the ludicrous episode in the Washington Post. We cant find this report on line; this is unfortunate, because this episode truly belongs in a time capsule. Its a perfect marker of the lunacy which passed for journalism during the era when Purdums dumber-than-dumb, upper-end crowd made a sick joke of our lives.
In the end, they sent George Bush to the White House. Professor Jay Rosen hasnt heard.
We cant find Kurtzs report on-line, and its a bit too convoluted to excerpt at this point. Instead, well excerpt the opening of Betty Mills review of Fools for Scandal. In 1996, you were allowed to hear about this bookif you read the Bismarck Tribune, for which Mills wrote. Elsewhere, Lyons book was largely disappeared by Purdums high class, even though Harpers was behind it:
The Davis piece helped spread the idea that Bill Clinton employed roving gangs of thugs who would beat up, even murder, journalistic giants like Davis. But Davis was a screaming ninny, like the fool for scandal who published him.
Because uh-oh! The New Republic hadnt mentioned the vicious assault on its worthy reporter by Clintons gang of thugs. Kurtz describes what happened next. This represents the start of the path which led us to Iraq:
Duh. But gaze on the state of your republic as the Clinton/Gore era was dawning! Omitted in all this: Lyons detailed explanation, in Fools for Scandal, of the vast extent of Davis errors about Arkansas political history over the previous decade. Errors which were blatant and central to the bungled case he had built.
Sadly, the career liberal world has agreed to pretend that this astounding decade never happened. (By the end of this decade, Gennifer Flowers was being given hour-long segments on cable news shows to discuss the Clintons many murders. And to explain that Hillary Clinton was the worlds most giant lesbo. Yes, these things did occur.) After all, young liberal writers are standing in line, dreaming of jobs at the very news orgs which invented these hoaxes. They want to appear on Hardball themselves! They want to make Mommy proud.
This week, we may have gotten our own generations successor to martini-man Davis. Todd Purdum may have drunk the Everclear on his trip to wildest Wasilla! That DSM diagnosis had been widespread for years. But after gulping the Everclear down, Purdum couldnt remember!
Maureen Dowd didnt seem to know either. Is she on the Everclear now?