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Daily Howler: We're reading about John Roberts' chores--because of what happened when Gore mentioned his
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JOHN ROBERTS WAS A STEEL-DRIVIN’ MAN! We’re reading about John Roberts’ chores–because of what happened when Gore mentioned his: // link // print // previous // next //

JOHN ROBERTS WAS A STEEL-DRIVIN’ MAN: John Roberts was a steel-drivin’ man—and George Bush wanted the public to know it. “When Mr. Bush presented Judge Roberts...on Tuesday night, he made special mention of the judge's having worked summers in steel mills, an apparent effort to give him some working-class cachet,” Neil Lewis wrote in the New York Times (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/20/05). Result? In a well-reasoned column in today’s Post, E. J. Dionne handed Roberts his props:
DIONNE (7/21/05): The issues at stake [in this nomination] are not abstract. They have to do with the government's power to protect the environment, to safeguard civil rights, including the rights of the disabled, and to provide protections for employees and consumers. It's admirable that this son of a steel executive worked some summers in a steel mill. More important is how he would rule on cases involving steelworkers and other working men and women.
“It's admirable that this son of a steel executive worked some summers in a steel mill,” Dionne conceded—reminding us of the way George Bush ended up in control of this process.

Yes, the youthful John Roberts worked in a mill—but then, the youthful Al Gore had worked on a farm! But uh-oh! When Gore mentioned this fact in March 1999 (responding to idiot jibes by Bill Bradley), no one at the Washington Post said it was “admirable that this son of a senator worked some summers on a farm.” In fact, the reaction could hardly have been more different. What happened when Gore made his accurate statement, in response to Bradley’s jibes? Here’s what happened: The late Michael Kelly ran one of the most dishonest—and most influential—op-ed columns in recent years, a column which plainly implied that Gore was making ludicrous claims about those alleged youthful summers. Kelly, of course, knew Gore’s statements were accurate; at the Baltimore Sun, he had profiled Gore’s youthful work on the farm when Gore ran for president in 1987-88. (Kelly had described Gore’s youthful work in detail. Links below.) But so what? In March 1999, the press corps had itself in a tizzy; its shorts were clearly in a large wad. Clinton’s impeachment trial had just ended, and Gore was going out on the trail. Result? The corps began a twenty-month War Against Gore—a war in which the furious corps would insist that Gore was a liar, just like Clinton. So Kelly wrote his disgraceful column—a column he knew was baldly misleading—and weak-minded pundits across the country ran to follow suit. Al Gore had been “delusional” when he mentioned his farm chores, major pundits began reciting. And so began the twenty-month war which eventually put George Bush in the White House. Because people like Kelly lied in your faces when Gore discussed his youthful farm chores, George Bush was on TV this week, talking about his nominee’s youthful work as a steel-drivin’ man. Because the press corps lied about Gore’s chores, we now get to hear them tell the truth about the hard work of John Roberts.

Times sure-enough have changed since then, ain’t they? Back in 1999, no one at the Washington Post said it was “admirable” that Gore had worked some long, hard summers on a farm in Tennessee. And no one stood up and spoke back to Kelly, although everyone—surely including Dionne—knew that his piece was pure bullshit. How did they know this? We ourselves conducted a three-day exchange with Kelly that April, in the pages of the Hotline. And the Post was good enough to publish a letter in which we quoted Kelly’s previous work about Gore—work in which he explicitly described the chores which somehow became a “delusion” when the press corps got mad at Bill Clinton. Everyone—everyone—knew Kelly was lying. But no one stood up and explained what was happening as Gore was trashed for being “delusional” in the bald-faced start to the twenty-month war which eventually put George Bush in the White House. Let’s say it again: A different tone obtained in March 1999, in the wake of the Clinton impeachment. The press corps had its shorts in a knot because Wild Bill had got those ten blow jobs. And they quickly took it out on Clinton’s VP—through lying, like that of Michael Kelly. The war began with Gore’s farm chores—and extended right through the election.

So that’s why you’re reading about the fact that John Roberts was a steel-drivin’ man. In fact, everything you now lament resulted from that War Against Gore—the war that began with Kelly’s blatant dissembling about Gore’s work on the farm. Why did Bush get the chance to go into Iraq? Because of the press corps’ War Against Gore. Why was Bush there to nominate Roberts? Because of the press corps’ War Against Gore. And why are we reading about Karl Rove? Because folks like Dionne didn’t say squat when Kelly played the nation for fools, right on their own op-ed pages! Today, we’re reading about King Karl because of that twenty-month War Against Gore. Rove, the Boy Genius, couldn’t have won without the lies of Michael Kelly.

But this is not about Dionne, whose column today is squarely on-target. Back in 1999 and 2000, many people didn’t say squat—including some of your most heroic and favorite career liberal writers. They kept their mouths shut while the war unfolded, because this war was being run by the Washington Post and the New York Times, not by easy conservative targets. They’re very good at playing you now about how horrible Rove has been. They’re eager to pander and overstate, showing you how bravely they’ll fight for your important interests. (And oh yes, please send them twenty dollars.) But in 1999 and 2000, these fiery fellows knew to keep quiet as the mainstream press corps’ War Against Gore changed your nation’s political history. And in the five years that have followed, they have continued to keep their mouths shut about what happened in that election. (As late as 2002, they were still typing ridiculous, press-scripted claims like this: “When Al Gore kicked off his presidential campaign in 1999...[t]he only problem appeared to be the voters, who didn’t seem to have particularly strong feelings about Gore one way or another.” See THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/12/02.) In most cases, they’re covering up for the powerful orgs which form the horizons of their own career interests. Refusing to discuss the way you lost the White House, they’ve played you and yours for blooming fools every day of the past five years.

What would have happened had the roles been reversed—if the press had started a War Against Bush in 3/99, a war which helped put Gore in the White House? We suspect you know what would have happened. In fact, as we have often noted, Joe Scarborough explained what would have happened when he played Hardball in November 02. Does anyone doubt a single word of what the gentleman told us?

SCARBOROUGH (11/18/02): I think in the 2000 elections, I think [the media] were fairly brutal towards Al Gore. I think they hit him hard on a lot of things like “inventing the Internet” and some of these other things, and I think there was a generalization that they bought into that, if they'd done that to a Republican candidate, I'd be going on your show saying, you know, they were being biased.
Do you doubt a word of what Joe said? (Fuller transcript below.) The media were “brutal” to Gore, he said. And if the media had done that to Bush, “I'd be going on your show saying, you know, they were being biased.” Does anyone doubt that this statement is true? In fact, if the press had waged that twenty-month war against Bush, you’d have heard that war discussed, in detail, every day for the past five years! But instead, they waged an astonishing War Against Gore—and your great liberals heroes have kept quiet about it, from that day right on up to this.

This week, you’re reading about John Roberts’ chores because of what happened when Gore mentioned his. And on the web, liberal heroes who have played you for fools about Gore are throwing you sweet, pleasing feed about Rove. But why is King Karl in the White House at all? Why does he have that security clearance? For the same reason Roberts is now in the news—because these cowards rolled over and died in the War Against Gore, a war which they still won’t discuss.

Don’t you ever get tired of these cheap, phony posers? Their silence put George Bush in the White Bush—and now put a steel-drivin’ man in the news. But my, how they pander to you about Rove! Don’t you ever get sick of their fake, phony fervor? Will you ever insist that they stand up and speak about your country’s recent history?

A BEARDED, HOUND-DOG LOSER: Fuller context for Scarborough’s statement: In November 2002, Gore was back in the news, with speculation that he’d soon announce he was running again in 2004. (For the record, we never thought that would be possible, for reasons that become fairly clear below.) Quite mistakenly, Scarborough said he thought the mainstream press would pimp for a Bush-Gore rematch:

MATTHEWS (11/18/02): We're back with more political buzz with Dee Dee Myers and former congressman from Florida Joe Scarborough. Joe, it does seem to me that Florida is going to be an issue for Gore. He's going to claim he had the election stolen from him. As Dee Dee pointed out, a lot of people in the Democratic Party believe that. Can you run on bitterness as a campaign platform?

SCARBOROUGH: No, I don't think you can. I do think though that Gore can obviously build on a lot of things he did in 2000. I got to tell you, you know, as he goes there to make his case against the Howard Deans and the John Kerry's and the John Edwards and Liebermans and all the other people out there, it's very easy for this guy on the stump to suddenly remind people, “I'm the guy that got the most votes in 2000. I mean, I won the popular vote! I did a good job against this guy!” I think the fact that he's moved home to Tennessee, you know, I don't think he moved back there to, you know, to see the Volunteers play football every weekend.

MATTHEWS: The fact is, Congressman, that he did get more votes than any Democratic candidate for president in history ever got and yet for most of the last two years, he's acted like a hound-dog loser, either wearing his beard and hiding in a cave or acting weird. He's never acted like a winner.

SCARBOROUGH: As you know, I wasn't very kind to Al Gore in 2000, but you know, he went away for six months. He didn't shave the beard. I think that's perfectly fine. And I think up until—

MATTHEWS: You're just shining this guy up! You're trying to get him nominated! That's what you're trying to do.

SCARBOROUGH: Let me tell you something. The media also—it's not just me, the media is not going—I mean there's no way they're going to be able to avoid setting this thing up. I mean, it's the thrilla in Manila. I mean, it's the second—it's the rematch of Bush and Gore, and I think you're going to have the media pushing for this to happen. I think you're going to have a lot of other people pushing for it to happen. I think we're going to have a rematch in '04.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the media's biased towards the Democrat?

SCARBOROUGH: No. I think in a lot of cases they have been. I think in the 2000 elections, I think they were fairly brutal towards Al Gore. I think they hit him hard on a lot of things like “inventing the Internet” and some of these other things, and I think there was a generalization that they bought into that, if they'd done that to a Republican candidate, I'd be going on your show saying, you know, they were being biased.

MATTHEWS: You have become so non-partisan, it scares me! You're really an honest broker!

Four weeks later, Gore announced that he wouldn’t be running. Had he ever considered a race? We don’t have the slightest idea. But Scarborough was dreaming when he said that the press would push for a Bush-Gore rematch. In fact, when Gore returned in the fall of 2002, so did the mainstream press corps’ animosity, expressed in its dim-wit attack themes. Indeed, Scarborough was sitting with the Grand Master this day—and the king soon swung into action. Matthews: “For most of the last two years, he's acted like a hound-dog loser, either wearing his beard and hiding in a cave or acting weird. He's never acted like a winner.” One year earlier, of course, this flaming idiot had told Don Imus that Gore “doesn’t look like one of us. He doesn’t seem very American, even.” And the rest of the press corps swung into action when Gore returned in the fall of 02. Needless to say, Gore was denounced as “delusional” again when he gave a go-slow speech on Iraq—a speech which looks clairvoyant today. To his credit, Scarborough knew what happened in Campaign 2000—and he was willing to say what he knew. But he didn’t begin to grasp how deep the animosity was.

By the way, when all these attacks started up again, did your fiery liberal heroes complain? Of course not! In most cases, they want to be on Hardball themselves, and refuse to discuss its abhorrent host—and they had refused to discuss the War Against Gore from the day when the Post and Times started it, mocking Gore for his accurate statements about those youthful chores. It’s hard to find sufficient contempt for the role they’ve played since March 1999. Today, they pander to you about Rove—a man they put in the White House!

TOMORROW—EQUAL AND OPPOSITE PANDER: On Imus, McCain and Brooks just couldn’t imagine what Rove could have possibly done wrong.

VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: In the fall of 02, that War Against Gore started up again. To watch the clowning as it starts, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/18/02. In our incomparable archives, a month of excitement follows.

Regarding those farm chores: For our most detailed presentation, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/26/00. For real-time reporting, see our archives from March and April 1999 (or enter “Gore AND chores” in our whirring search engines). For the text of the letter we sent to the Post, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/5/03. In real time, everyone knew that Gore had worked on the family farm—and everyone knew that Kelly had baldly dissembled, grossly deceiving the Post’s misused readers. But no one at the Post said boo—and no one said that it was “admirable” that the son of a senator had worked on a farm. Instead, the corps began its twenty-month war. Result? This morning we read, in that very same Post, about a young steel-drivin’ man—a man whose youthful work was quite grand.

Finally, how did the corps respond to Gore’s 9/02 speech on Iraq? We did a four-part series on the clowning; see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/5/04, with links to all four installments. In 2002, would the press corps pimp for a Bush-Gore rematch? Joe was totally wrong about that; while your heroes sat and watched, the press was still warring on Gore.