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EDWARDS CALLS HIS SHOT! Collins “deferred” on Rudy’s health plan—so she could beat on his wife: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2007

CLEAVAGE AND PACKAGING: Good lord! Don’t miss this gruesome Media Matters post, in which the boys and girls of MSNBC spend the day of July 30 obsessing on somebody’s cleavage. Please note: These children work at MSNBC, not at Fox; Fox spent no time at all on this topic. But over at The Net Jack Welch Built, the mindless children pondered and puzzled, peeping down a candidate’s shirt. By the way: Could someone please escort Emily Heil to a re-education facility?
MEDIA MATTERS (7/31/07): During the 3 p.m. ET hour, while introducing an interview with Roll Call reporter Emily Heil, host Chris Jansing asked: "[H]ave we crossed into the political version of the surreal when we start talking about cleavage?" Heil asserted: "We're not actually talking about Hillary Clinton's cleavage" but that “that's what people are finding so—to use a crude pun—so titillating about it.”
To make a crude suggestion, the major boob Heil should be led away to a sound-proof, well-padded room. But then again, why bother? Within the cohort we still call a “press corps,” there will always be a grasping young climber eager to take this child’s place.

Pathetic. “MSNBC cleaves to neckline controversy,” Media Matters headlined, hoping that a bit of humor might keep you from hanging yourself in the yard. And make no mistake—these children have engaged in this conduct before. We’ve seen liberals this week who cleaved to the thought that only a woman gets treated this way. Sorry, he-who-forgets-history-breath! They’ve taken us down this road before. They’ll do so forever—until stopped.

Yep! In October 2000, this genius contingent asked us to focus on Al Gore’s troubling “package.” In the Philadelphia Daily News, Theresa Conroy played the fool—but summarized the discussion nicely. No, we didn’t make this up. Yes, this actually happened:
CONROY (10/27/00): We need to talk about the Presidential Package.

Last time we addressed this subject, we investigated the "distinguishing characteristic" of President Clinton's genitals, as alluded to by sexual harassment plaintiff Paula Jones.

Today, we examine the size and import of Vice President Al Gore's private parts, as displayed on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and whether size really is the big issue in this election.

In the Nov. 9 issue of Rolling Stone, Gore—dressed in khakis, a black T-shirt and a denim shirt—appears to be quite a lucky man.

Widespread discussion of the size issue started when Simon Dumenco printed a small item in an Oct. 18 magazine column on Inside.com. Dumenco, who described Gore's crotch as, "looking...very, very presidential," quoted insiders who said the photo was airbrushed to minimize the tent in Gore's pants.

The story was pumped up by the Drudge Report, New York Magazine, the New York Post's Page Six column, the Washington Times and ABC's "The View" [among others].

Several reports alluded to what probably aroused the bulge in the first place: Gore's pants were so bunched that artists smoothed the wrinkles to avoid a phantom erection.

Rolling Stone did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Is it really that big?

And, could the size of Gore's closest running mate have any impact on the election?

Evidence of Gore's manhood has long been a feature in the campaign.

*Al and Tipper Gore passionately French-kissed on stage during the Democratic National Convention.

*New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has written about Gore's "provocatively tight" jeans.

*Even Ted Koppel remarked, on ABC, about Gore's snug denims.

That leaves the indelicate question of whether a healthy endowment entices voters.

"I don't think it's going to affect very many voters' decisions," said Jan "John" Vermeer, a political science professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

"I think it's going to affect voters' evaluations of Al Gore as a person, but when it comes down to it, voters are more concerned" about issues, he said.

In spite of the media's best efforts, he said, voters want to concentrate on Social Security, taxes and health care. Thinking about presidential-types having sex—as we learned from Bill Clinton—is just about as bad as imagining your parents doing it.

"I think that would be a media-fixated story," said John Orman, an expert on the presidency...
"The rest of America, they don't buy Rolling Stone. They're watching the presidential debate, not watching their crotch," Orman was quoted saying.

Pardon us while we go wash up—and while we rethink the things we’ve been told about “man [sic], the rational animal.”

To state the obvious, Conroy should also be walked away from her keyboard—and never allowed to go back. But you know what they did that summer! Having trashed every aspect of Gore’s being for twenty long months, this was all the corps had left as we neared a history-changing election. And yes, this matter was widely explored, as Conroy noted in her column. When MSNBC peeped down a candidate’s blouse, they were reviving a tired old practice of their broken-souled, tired old cohort.

This sort of thing will never stop—until we find ways to stop it. That’s why we were disappointed when liberals took the opportunity to miss an opportunity during the course of this week. On Sunday, the New York Times penned history’s most laughable “correction” (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/30/07). Omigod! Too funny for words! After eight years of perfect nonsense, the Times pulled the plug on a treasured old tale:
NEW YORK TIMES CORRECTION (7/29/07): An article last Sunday about politicians' choice of clothing while campaigning referred incorrectly to the role of Naomi Wolf in Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. She was a consultant on women's issues and outreach to young voters; she was not Mr. Gore's image consultant and was not involved in his decision to wear earth-toned clothing.
Too funny! They’d peddled this cant for the prior eight years. Now, it was all washed away.

In one stroke, the Times wiped away an era—reinvented a story they’d told for eight years. And when they did this, we liberals just stared—and failed to drive home the point! After all, the nonsense with which the press defines Dems didn’t start with haircuts and cleavage; in 1999 and 2000, the whole world saw it done to Gore, although most voters still don’t know that the stories they heard were invented, made up—were bogus, fake, phony, finagled. So duh! When the Times walked away from this iconic tale, we should have told the public! We should have mocked the Times till they sighed. We should have used this clownish event to help the public understand the ways their elections get hijacked.

But, as always, we didn’t do that. Indeed, we seem to be the world’s least competent tellers of basic stories. We ignored it when they did this to Gore in real time—and we ignored it this week when they finally “corrected.” We simply refuse to let the public learn from these laughable tales.

Voters won’t understand cleavage and haircuts if we don’t clue them on earth tones and alphas. This week, the New York Times gave us a huge, funny club. Politely, unwisely, we passed.

Special report: Edward speaks!


BE SURE TO READ EACH THRILLING INSTALLMENT: Last week, in Iowa, Edwards spoke—and he seemed to define the work of the press. Read each thrilling installment:
PART 1: Off in Iowa, Edwards spoke. This morning, the punishment starts. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/1/07.

PART 2: On the day that Edwards spoke, Collins typed tangerine trivia. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/2/07.
In Part 3, we scan a new column—and see Edwards calling his shot.

PART 3—EDWARDS CALLS HIS SHOT: When Edwards spoke, he seemed to define the soul of a simpering press corps. And he seemed to be speaking, one week in advance, about Gail Collins’ latest sad column. “They do not want to hear us talking about health care for everybody,” he said in Iowa, on July 26. They want to “talk about this silly, frivolous, nothing stuff.”

Which brings us to Collins’ new column.

Omigod! It almost seemed like Collins wanted to let us hear her talking about health care for everybody! Last week, she had penned a bit of pure cant—an absurd, tortured piece of tangerine trivia. But yesterday, as she started her column, she seemed to be focused on something important! But clearly, Edwards is a seer. Here’s how Collins—former head of the Times editorial page—started her most recent column:
COLLINS (8/2/07): This week, Rudy Giuliani is focusing on health issues, attacking Democrats' plans to get the government more involved in covering the cost of medical care. In a campaign tour of New Hampshire town meetings, he used the word ''socialism'' so often that it crowded out the old nonterror-related record-holder, ''Ronald Reagan.'' Other frequently repeated nouns were ''choice'' (good) and ''France'' (bad).

''Deal with it the American way!'' he urged.

His own proposal involves tax credits and repeated analogies to the way the cost of plasma TVs go down when people buy a lot of them. Since the campaign says it will take a few more months to crunch the numbers and make the details perfectly clear, I, for one, am prepared to defer probing any deeper.

Meanwhile, we can consider the disappearance of Judith Giuliani.
Her “attention deficit” didn’t kick in—until she reached paragraph 3! “I, for one, am prepared to defer probing [Giuliani’s health proposals],” Collins announced at that point. And after that, darlings, we got some good fun! Collins, skipping Rudy’s health plan, beat on what matters—his wife.
We won’t waste your time making you read all the things Collins said. For the record, the scribe worked from a sacred new text—Judy Bachrach’s naughty profile of Rudy’s wife in the current Vanity Fair. But uh-oh! Collins’ first few paragraphs on the subject help us divine her perspective:
COLLINS (continuing directly): You may remember a while back that Rudy Giuliani was touting his wife, a nurse, as an important adviser to him on health matters. This was around the time that he told Barbara Walters that he would be ''very, very comfortable'' having her sitting in on Cabinet meetings and policy discussions about her area of expertise.

So Judith was expected to be part of the New Hampshire health care tour. But her plans seemed to have changed about the time a new Vanity Fair profile emerged, one that makes her sound like a particularly unpleasant combination of Catherine the Great and Britney Spears. The article, by Judy Bachrach, accuses her of everything from demanding a separate airplane seat for her handbag to putting her husband in harm's way by forcing him to retrieve a bag of health bars from the hotel during a security lockdown.

It's a howl from the political and moneyed elite, recoiling from the idea of the social-climbing third Mrs. Giuliani.
At least she isn’t trying to hide it! Her city’s “political and moneyed elite” have sent up “a howl” about this climber! So Collins deferred on health care—her peers all have it—and focused instead on that disturb them. Here’s the sort of thing that drives this “elite” right up a silk-covered wall:
COLLINS: In a rare speaking appearance at a fund-raiser last spring, she began with an anecdote about when they first met that was both unwise, given his married state at the time, and unlikely. (''The first time we sat down and talked I said: 'What do you know about infectious diseases?' '')

Things did not really improve from there on in.
No, we don’t understand that first sentence; when did it become “unwise” to speak to a married person? But these anecdotes never has to make sense; they just have to express this “elite’s” latest grievance. For some reason, Judith Giuliani annoyed the swells on that night (in mid-March). Months later, deferring on health care, Collins is quick to return there.

Collins says she’ll do health care later, when Giuliani offers more details. We’ll believe that when it occurs. But there’s plenty to say, right now, about the things he has already said. (Suggestions below.) Unfortunately, the time just never seems to be right for this moneyed elite to talk about health care. When Gore and Bradley debated health care in 1999, Mary McGrory mocked Gore’s clothing. And Collins herself penned a poisonous piece, pretending that Gore had been “bouncing off walls” and mocking him—without explaining what had actually happened—for having the nerve to ask a young mother about her sick, five-year-old child.

Apparently, she needed more details then now. So she filled in the time with pure poison.

When Edwards spoke, he called his shot; he pre-described Collins’ latest column. But then, something has long been abundantly clear; your upper-end press doesn’t care about health care. They have health care themselves, you see. This frees them—to beat Rudy’s wife.

A MONEYED ELITE HAD TO CHUCKLE: According to a Nexis search, Judith Giuliani’s disturbing comment about infectious diseases has only been cited once before this. The low-brow New York Post picked it up (3/16/07). This was the full, unsigned item:
NURSE POWER

RUDY Giuliani supporters were left stunned at his Sheraton New York fund-raiser this week when his wife, Judith, gave an intro that hit on her nursing background in "infectious diseases" and touted her ability to "pick up the phone as Judith Giuliani" and get access to high-profile people for her causes. She also claimed former Time Warner head Gerald Levin sent "200,000 computers" to the 9/11 victims' family center on the West Side piers so they could communicate. (She meant $200,000 worth of computers.) "It was crazy. It was so weird," said one spy, who added that people around him were chuckling.
That was the entire item. Finally, four months later, Collins has gotten her turn to discuss this atrocity. Just like in Rupert’s Post.

Readers, do you see why this incident troubled these people—why this moneyed elite had to chuckle? Omigod! Giuliani’s wife had once been a nurse! How gauche to make such a crude statement!

REGARDING RUDY’S SPEECH: Thanks to social climbers like Collins, voters know almost nothing about health care. For an actual journalist, the time to start correcting that deficit would be now. Indeed, no one has to wait for “details” to note a few things about Rudy’s speech:
Tax deductions: Giuliani’s plan is built around the use of a $15,000 tax deduction. In effect, this means that the federal government would be disproportionately helping upper-income people pay for their health insurance. Matt Yglesias quickly explains this point—but most Times readers do not understand these matters. They don’t understand because people like Collins prefer to discuss Rudy’s wife.

Disaster: In his speech, Giuliani called French health care a “disaster.” Trust us: Very few New York Times readers understand how odd that statement is (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/2/07). Why are American voters so clueless? Because Giuliani wants to deceive them—and Collins wants to bang on his wife.
For this gang, it’s “tomorrow, tomorrow” when it comes to discussing health care. Edwards nailed this point—called his shot—last week, when he spoke.

MONDAY—EDWARDS SPEAKS, PART 4: No one (but Krugman) knows health care.