Judith Warner gets it right: Here at THE HOWLER, weve rarely gotten such quick results from so apt a pupil! This morning, Judith Warner drops her chains and breaks the rulesand thereby gets it right. She writes a street-fighting, hard-copy column about the tide of trivialization that washes over all things Hillary. Reviewing Clintons trip to Congo, she runs with reporter Jeffrey Gettlemanand walks away from Dowd (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/12/09):
WARNER (8/13/09): There could have been no more dramatic setting: Overruling the security fears of her aides, she traveled to eastern Congo, where hundreds of thousands of women have been raped over the past decade. She visited a refugee camp and met with one woman who was gang-raped while eight months pregnant; she heard of another whod been sexually assaulted with a rifle. She was told of babies cut from their mothers bodies with razors. She spoke of evil in its basest form. She promised $17 million to fight sexual violence.
And back home, all anyone could talk about was Bill.
Our analysts loudly cheered Warner, who could see that hundreds of thousands of African lives count more than dim-witted Washington gossip! No, she didnt name the trivializers. But if you just click here, you can name one.
Weve gotten instant results from Warner, who was still trivializing all things health care with a silly column about a certain actress in Mondays Times (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/11/09). And ohourgod! In todays Times, were asked to sit through a ponderous response. The letter even got its own headline. Truly, our culture is mad:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (8/13/09):
Louise, of 'Harry and Louise,' on Health Reform
As the subject of Judith Warner's Aug. 10 column, ''Louise's Second Act,'' and her Aug. 9 Domestic Disturbances blog, I'd like to expand on a couple of points.
I recalled for Ms. Warner various positive experiences I have had in countries with national health care and also here in the United States. But I do not advocate any one health care system over another.
I have always been in favor of health care reform in this countryjust as the character I played in the television commercials with Harry was for health care reform. I come from a family of doctors, nurses and health care workers.
At the time of the 1993-94 commercials, I went to my family, as well as friends, who worked in health care and asked, ''Is this the right reform for our country?'' They didn't know the answer, but they did have a lot of questionsquestions similar to the ones that the characters Harry and Louise asked in those commercials.
Harry and Louise may be the real names of the actors, but they are also charactersnot experts, and they do not pretend to be. They represented then, and still do today, the voice of real Americans with real questions about health care reform. I am proud to have been able to give them that voice.
Louise Caire Clark
Washington, Aug. 11, 2009
Finally! Accurate word is on the street concerning Clarks state of advocacy. (Does no one care about Harry?)
Clark is right about one thing. Real Americans do have real questions about the proposed health reform (see below); their questions deserve careful answers. One such question in todays Times: Whats it like when Dallas Woodhouse and his brother Brad advocate on different sides of this issue? For unknown reasons, Jim Rutenberg was forced to present a full news report concerning this newest inanity.
Perhaps well get Woodhouse letters next! In the face of such threats, we plead with Warner: Please! Keep getting it right!
Special report: Getting our keisters kicked!
PART 4THIS IS YOUR ASS GETTING KICKED BY TEA-BAGGERS: When it comes to politics and public affairs, Katy Abram, 35, is quite unsophisticated.
Last night, Abram did a full guest segment on Hardball. (Go ahead: Insert joke here.)
Why was Abram on the show? During this August vacation season, had Hardballs producers exhausted their list of unsophisticated journalists? In fact, Abram had been invited to appear on the show because shed berated Arlen Specter at his August 11 town hall meeting. Before guest host Lawrence ODonnell brought Abram on, he played some tape from her ballyhooed exchange with brave valiant Specter, who weathered the storm. The CHEERS AND APPLAUSE are taken from the official MSNBC transcript:
ODONNELL (8/12/09): Welcome back to Hardball. Lets watch this moment from Senator Arlen Specters town hall yesterday.
ABRAM (videotape): I dont believe this is just about health care. Its not about TARP. Its not about left and right. This is about the systematic dismantling of this country. Im only 35 years old. Ive never been interested in politics. You have awakened the sleeping giant. We are tired of this. This is why everybody in this room is so ticked off! I don`t want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country. My question for you is
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ABRAM: What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created according to the Constitution?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ODONNELL: Joining us now, the woman you just saw, Katy Abram. Katy Abram, I know youre not a regular at this stuff and you dont do it every day, so take it easy. Were just going to go through some simple questions about this.
Omigod! Our noblest lord, the high lord ODonnell, now sat with a likely tea-bagger!
Granted, he didnt ID her as same. But before we contemplate Abrams status as a semi-official tea-bagger, lets make sure we understand how unsophisticated Abram is when it comes to public affairs.
For the record, Katy Abram was a smiling, likable presence throughout her session with ODonnell. She seemed quite pleasant; more people are. (To watch the full segment, click here.) But as she told Specter at the town hall, Abram had never been interested in politics before the current junctureand it soon became clear that our highest lord was puzzled by her previous lack of interest. At one point, he tried to help his tea-bagger guest think through the various affairs of her life. Abram had already said that her family does have health insurance:
ODONNELL: You said in your statement that youre 35 years old, and nothing has gotten you interested in politics before. And whats interesting to me about that is, that means you, as an adult, lived through 9/11.
ODONNELL: You lived through the invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Afghanistan, the first chapter of what became two wars in the Middle East, including the Iraq war. Youyou lived through all of that, and were not, as you put it, awakened into an interest in politics. How could those things pass through your life like this, andand not spark any interest in politics prior to the, Washington saying we think we want to help out some people who cant afford health insurance the way you can? Why would itwhy would this be the thing that wakes you up, after you wereyou were willing to just ignore politics as we went past 9/11 into Afghanistan, into Iraq?
ABRAM: Sure. Sure. II always seemed to have faith in the government. And, honestly, I didnt really care. I had other things going on, you knowgetting married, having children. It justit wasnt a priority in my life.
Abram is new to politics. This became clear as our noble lord continued his razor-sharp questioning.
Katy Abram simply isnt sophisticated when it comes to public affairs. Our lord was nice enough to tell her, for instance, that Social Security is actually a piece of socialism that we imported from Germany. Bismarck invented that program. Abram didnt seem to know thatand she didnt seem to have given a lot of thought to the questions our high lord asked. In the following sequence about Medicare and Social Security, our lord very capably played on one part of Abrams statement to Specterher statement that shed like to return to what the founders intended:
ODONNELL: Let me just go now to the, whatthe question you actually put to Arlen Specter, which was, you said to him
ODONNELL: what are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the Constitution? Lets just go through a checklist of what you think that would require.
I assume that would require repealing Medicare, because thats a single-payer government-funded health care system, which is socialism. I agree with you, by the way. That is socialism. I think its successful, practical, smart socialism, but it is definitely socialism. So, you would want to repeal that, wouldnt you?
ABRAM: I hate to have words put in my mouth. I mean, II honestly
ODONNELL: Well, the founding fathers did not anticipate Medicare. So, we can repeal that, cant we? In order to get back to what you think the founding fathers would have us do?
ABRAM: Yes, I think a lot of the programs thatthat are in place were not supposed to be, were not supposed to be here.
ODONNELL: Then lets repeal them, right? Wouldnt you, then, want to repeal them? Wouldnt you want Senator Specter to go in and repeal Medicare and repeal Social Security? Because thats actually a piece of socialism that we imported from Germany. Bismarck invented that program. So, we shouldthat, that is also socialism. I agree with you on that. Again, I think it is smart, practical socialism, but it is socialism. So, I guess you would want us to repeal that?
ABRAM: [Pause] I would hate to say yes or no.
Our high lord was just so much brighter than Abram! It was truly a pleasure to see.
But this brings us to a basic question about American politics.
Abram was a pleasant, smiling presence throughout. But shes unsophisticated, unlettered, about public affairs. She doesnt talk politics with her parents, she told ODonnell at one point. She doesnt know her own familys annual income. Maybe Im just not that smart, she said at another point in the segment. But heres the problem, a problem that is especially acute for the kind of upper-class pseudo-liberals who went to Stanford or (Cornell), became Rhodes Scholars, and like to mock and name-call their lessers:
The vast majority of American voters are unsophisticated, unlettered, about politics! They arent as brilliant as our high lords. But uh-oh! They get to vote! And there are many more people like Katy Abram than like our high lord ODonnell.
(If we had to guess, wed guess that Abram is the nicer person.)
Make no mistake: Our highest lord is one of the biggest buffoons in recent history too. In October 2000, he was still going on TV (The McLaughlin Report) and making loud misstatements about Candidate Gores most ridiculous and most relevant untruths. Astounding. In October 2004, he melted down against head Swift Boater John ONeill; it was abundantly clear that our highest lord hadnt bothered preparing himself to debate this head Swift Boater. (For both incidents, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/28/04). Even last night, our highest lord interrupted Abram to grandly correct her about one point, then had to slink away in error. Abram said she doesnt believe President Obama when he says she can keep her current health plan:
ABRAM: I dont believe it, because I heard him say on a quote, on television, that, you know, it may take five or 10 years, but we will move to a single-payer health, or to a single-payer
ODONNELL: Katy, hes never said that. He has never said we will move to a single-payer plan.
ABRAM: I heardI heard it on TV. I heard it on TV. I heard him saying it.
ODONNELL: The president of the United States Katy, the president of the United States has never said it.
ABRAM: This was a couple years
ODONNELL: Oh, it was a few years ago?
ABRAM: It was like in 2002 or two thous
ABRAM: It was a couple years ago. Its not since hes been in office.
ODONNELL: All right.
Typical. Our highest lord was just so surethen had to slink away.
(In this piece from Salon, David Sirota discusses some of Obamas past statements in support of single-payer. By the way: The notion that a public option would lead to single-payer was liberal/Democratic dogma as recently as last yearsee THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/23/09. Today, though, when people like Abram express related concerns, we puff up and tell the world its the latest tea-bagger concoction.)
Back to the problem Abram presents for high-toned upper-class liberals:
The American electorate is chock-a-block full of people like Katy Abram. They arent schooled, lettered or sophisticated concerning public affairs. They have never heard of Bismarck. They often dont know what theyre talking about. They can often be badly misled.
They were misled during the 1990s, as people like Lord ODonnell ran off and hid in the woods, then came on TV to repeat the lies. In some cases (not all), theyre getting misled today.
But these people exist by the tens of millionsand they vote! When they get roused, as Abram has, they can change the outcomes of our politics. In 1993, they got roused about Clintons health planand the plan went down to defeat. Now, theyre roused about Obamas plan. Polling numbers arent going real well..
Last April, a string of our ugliest pseudo-liberals mocked these people for more than a week, all over MSNBC. We laughed and chortled about them thenjust as a certain class of liberal has done throughout the past fifty years.
In April, we laughed and called them names. But in August, these people are kicking our keisters! Will our presidents badly watered-down health proposal actually sink beneath the waves? We dont know. But it was very dumb to mock the people who had the power to cause this turmoil.
It was very, very dumb. But to a certain type of liberal, Oh lord! It has always felt good!
Theyre wing-nuts, tea-baggers, wackos, nut-jobs. We can reliably see that theyre racists. Our own lords are irredeemably dumb, of course. But at least theyre in our tribe!
We call them dumbbut they keep winning! As you watch disaster unfold regarding our already watered-down plan, well suggest you consider a thought:
Omigod! Is this our ass getting kicked by tea-baggers?
Is Katy Abram a racist: On our side, the savants can tell that Abram is likely a racistthat she has finally gotten involved because we have a black president. Lady Tucker gives favorable odds45 to 65 percent. We could probably get better odds from Janeane Garofalo, who announced in April that everyone at the Tax Day events was in fact a redneck racist. For the record, its hard to believe we call them dumb, when our leaders reason this way.
For what its worth, this is what Abram said in response to ODonnells first question:
ODONNELL: What got you to Senator Specters town hall? What made you want to go?
ABRAM: Just for sheer frustration. You know, I see all these things being pushed through very quicklyTARP, this health care bill, cash for clunkers. And the frustrating thing to me is that this isthese programs are being funded by me, my husband, our friends, our family. We have a small business, and the amount of taxes we pay out on that, its ridiculous, and yet they want us to pay more, or it sounds like they want us to pay more. So that`s the root of my frustration. This was the straw that broke the camels back.
Our lord discussed that statement quite briefly before beginning his lecture.
For what its worth, people like Abram said similar things about the Clinton health planand President Clinton was white. By the way: Do we really want to assume that these concerns make no sense, just because they come from someone who isnt politically sophisticated? We seem to recall a very sophisticated person saying, on the Maddow Show, that we are currently going through the biggest heist in monetary history. That person was Naomi Kleinand Rachel never had her back. (Bad for corporate ownership?) If were undergoing the biggest such heist, are you sure that Abram shouldnt be concerned? By the way: Why hasnt Rachel ever asked Klein to explain what she meant?
Is it possible that Maddow is a self-dealing (future) millionaire ass? By way of contrast, is it possible that Abram somehow smells a real problem? That were too dumbtoo narcotized by stories about Iraqi baseball and John Ensigns sex rompsto be able to smell it ourselves?
By the way: Weve never seen Klein ridicule less-sophisticated working-class people. Could it be because shes too smart?
Our side keeps losingbut their side is dumb! Its how certain liberals reason.