ABOUT THOSE TIRE GAUGES! A famous pundit cant think of a reason for John McCains childish campaign: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2008
GIVING PEACEAND OBAMAA CHANCE: Understandably, race can drive people crazy. To us, this seems to make a bit more sense when black people get driven to the point of distraction. Oddly, it often seems to be white folk who flamboyantly lose their minds.
Unfortunately, this can cause a serious problem when Democrats try to win an election. For that reason, Dems and libs should think, with great care, before baring their souls about race this year. This election will be decided by 130 million peoplemost of whom do not see the world in the same ways you and your best friends do. And theres surely no other subject which can alienate people so swiftly.
Therefore, for the next ninety days:
Timothy Noah: Timothy Noah should stop discussing raceright now, pronto, instantly. No. Most people dont think youre discussing his race when you say Obamas too thin. (To read, if you must, just click here.) By the way: Karl Rove will pay Tim Noah good money to keep saying weird things like that.
David Gergen: David Gergen should reconsider his belief that he has magical access to the truth about race. No. The fact that hes a white southerner of a certain age doesnt mean he has magical knowledge of racial code language. Simply put, the following presentation (on Sundays This Week) wasnt even slightly smart. Many people have called Obama The One. Gergens infallible papal insights mainly exist in his head:
For the next ninety days, Karl Rove will pay David Gergen good money every time he talks about code for uppity. It doesnt matter if he thinks hes right. It wouldnt matter if he could prove he was right in some sense (perhaps by tracking brain waves). Oprah Winfreyand many othershave called Barack Obama The One. Gergen hasnt been driven crazy, but hes been driven unwise.
(Just a guess: Obama loses votes every time his supporters snark about uppity.)
Bob Herbert: Wed love to stop criticizing Bob Herbert, but he needs to get a grip on his imaginationinstantly. Heres what he said on Mondays Morning Joe, discussing the Spears/Hilton ad:
Except that isnt the Leaning Tower of Pisaand that isnt the Washington Monument. What you see is a structure at the Berlin location where Obama was giving his speech.
Karl Rove will pay Bob Herbert good money to discuss phallic symbols in John McCains ads. (Theres a bonus for spotting the Leaning Tower of Pisa when it isnt actually there.) If Herbert wants to give Obama a chance to win, he needs to stop helping like this.
Keith Olbermann: Herberts presentation occurred on Monday morning. Twelve hours later, our own Mr. O was still recycling his howlers:
Hed had twelve hours to check his factsbut he still was repeating these world-class blunders. For the record, no one had noticed those famous structures because they arent there in the ad.
Understandably, race can drives people nuts. Ideally, such people will consider shutting their yaps and giving Obama a chance to win. This isnt about our chance to prove that were more insightful than somebody else. It isnt about conducting a seminar, even if we could make some points which might turn out to be right. Noah could have expressed his views on race at any point in the past twenty years. He didnt have to wait until nowtill a White House campaign was unfolding.
This is about getting out of the way and letting Obama stop getting defined. Its about giving Obama an actual chance to win.
No, that wasnt the Leaning Tower. No, Gergen doesnt have magical powers. No, being thin doesnt mean being black. Very few people think such thingsand when we speak those ways in public settings, we may cost Obama votes.
An election isnt about being right. In an election, you approach 130 million people, most of whom dont see the world in exactly the same ways you do. Youre looking for things you see the same way. The Leaning Towerit aint in the ad!may not be one of those entities.
ABOUT THOSE TIRE GAUGES: The Dowdification of American discourse is truly a thing to behold. Consider the letters the Times prints today about Maureen Dowds Sunday column. (To read the column, click here.)
In the first letter, a Broder from Brooklyn praises Dowd for rightly call[ing] out the American people on their prejudice against Barack Obama. In fact, Dowds treatment of this important matter was thoroughly bungled in Sundays column (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/5/08). She herself, of course, has ridiculed Obama as Scarlett OHara and legally blonde.
In the second letter, the Times somehow finds a Houston man who got conned by Dowds organic chicken comparison. In Sundays piece, Dowd cited Amy Chozicks ridiculous Wall Street Journal piece, suggesting that people wont vote for Obama because they think hes too thin. The Houston writer got thoroughly tooken by all this blatherand, therefore, he praises Dowd too! Please dont make us explain. (To grasp the size of the nonsense involved, just click here. Scroll down to Chozicks Corrections & Amplifications.)
In some ways, the third letters the best. The writers tone is so arch one can barely tell that theyre criticizing Dowd. And as is required in a New York Times letter, theyre clueless about recent politics:
Thats the New York Times idea of a critical letter on Dowd.
Truly, where does the Times find these people? When have we ever heard of a presidential candidate likened to literary heroes like Mr. Darcy? How about in the last election, when the very same Dowd compared the Democratic nominee to the proud Mr. Collins, from the very same book?
When have we ever heard of a candidate likened to literary heroes like Dennis the Menace? In Campaign 2000, the Democratic nominee was endlessly likened to Eddie Haskellby Maureen Dowd, to cite one example. Needless to say, it was Dowd who had introduced the world to this childish comparison (according to Nexis archives), back in 1992; as always, Frank Rich had helped her. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/15/07. Scroll down to In search of the historical Haskell.)
In fact, these silly comparisons have driven our discourse for quite a good while now, typically helped along or invented by Dowd. But the Times letter-writers think it started this year! This innocence of our recent history made the pair fit to print.
This morning, Dowds nonsense continues apace, as she asks a question well answer tomorrow. Why on earth is a man of honor like John McCain running such a childish campaign? Dowd can think of just one explanation:
Note the way the novelization works. It cant be Weaver whos pea-green with envy because he got dumped by McCain. Nobecause Dowd seeks to affirm his view, his view arrives without motive. (By the rules of the game, his statement is blunt.) No, its McCain who is clearly pea-green, Dowd says. She can imagine no other reason for the juvenilia of his current campaigning.
The Hilton-Spears ad was kinda stupid? Its hard to be a whole lot more stoopid than Dowds assessment of McCains motivation. Tomorrow, well review the recent history of juvenilia in Republican White House campaigns. For our text, well consider an insightful news report by the Times Alison Mitchell. A report from May 1999.
Why is an honorable man like McCain running a schoolyard campaign about tire gauges? Its stunning that Dowd cant think of an answer. Or that shes allowed not to say what she knows.
Dowd cant think of any reason why this man of honor would run this campaign! Can a nation survive this level of discourse? Gazing back on the past dozen years, wed have to say things arent going real well.
Try to believe they permit this: But then, how low are standards at the Times, especially where their top Antoinette is concerned? Try to believe that a passage like this was allowed in this mornings column:
Dowd claims shes quoting one of McCains old pals in the Senate. But uh-oh! She doesnt say which party this old pal belongs to! Can you think of any journalistic reason why that fact would have been omitted?
Given Dowds appalling track record, we can think of no real reason to believe anything she says. But we had to chuckle when we saw that passage. Is there any chance thats the voice of McCains old pal in the Senate, John Kerry? Could it be the voice of some other Dem? We dont have the slightest idea. Dowds editors agreed not to tell.
A taste of the comments: Today, the Times prints letters which praise brilliant Dowd. How about a taste of the on-line comments? Heres the second comment appended to Sundays piece (for a full dosage, click here):
Ouch! There seems to be historical memory there! Granted, that was posted by TeddySanFran. But the next comment was similar:
The fourth comment rejects Dowds view of Obama-as-Darcy. The fifth comment correctly says that the sideshow...seems to be all Ms. Dowd has to comment on these days. According to the seventh comment, This column says nothing. It was a waste of space.
No, we didnt post those comments. And when the Times gets similar letters, such letters are sent off to die.