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CLOWNWATCH! With his latest on Senator Kerry, Mickey Kaus becomes a full circus clown:


WE KNOW WHAT THEY DID THAT SPRING: Incredibly, Charles Krauthammer says Gore is “loony”—the man “needs help”—because of his comments about the press corps (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/3/02). But does the RNC script the press? Let’s review the early chronology of Campaign 2000:

March 9, 1999: Gore gives his “first on-camera interview since filing as a candidate.” He makes his famous remark about the Internet. For the next two days, no one in the press corps says even one word about it.

March 11, 1999: The RNC puts out its spin—Al Gore said he created the Internet. The entire press corps runs to recite it. Within days, Gore is savaged all over the press for saying he invented the Internet.

March 15, 1999: In response to jibes from Bill Bradley, Gore tells David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register about his youthful experience on the Tennessee farm. In previous years, many members of the press have described this well-known part of Gore’s history.

March 16, 1999: The RNC sends out a press release saying that Gore is “shoveling it” about his experience. For the next three months, Gore is trashed as “deeply dishonest” and “delusional” for his remarks about the chores—remarks which many members of the press corps know to be perfectly accurate.

A twenty-month slander campaign was off and running—scripted by the RNC.

Anywhere else, conduct such is known by a legal term: “fraud.” In Washington, by contrast, it’s now just called “journalism.” The farm chores and Invented the Internet touched off a toxic, two-year campaign in which Gore was repeatedly trashed as a liar. Half of the press corps took part in the carnage. The other half—cowards—knew enough to keep quiet. Both of these groups were full of scribes who knew that the spin-points were utterly bogus. Elsewhere, this is known as “fraud.” In Washington, it’s now called an “election.”

Gore’s remarks to the New York Observer accurately describe this syndrome. And that syndrome continues right up to this day, as we’ve shown in a few recent HOWLERS. Does the RNC still script today’s press? You’d have to be loony to think that it doesn’t. Those days of “liberal bias” are gone. Our current press corps bows down to Dear Leader, and takes its points from the RNC. Even when those points are bogus, obedient pundits run hard to recite them. Why in the world do you think Tim Russert was quoting JFK this past week? (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/2/02.)

But spinners like Krauthammer will keep on deceiving. Your public discourse lies in the hands of a deeply dysfunctional, corrupted cohort. Does instinct tell you this just can’t be true? Read back through yesterday’s HOWLER.

Tomorrow: Another Great Moment in Spin from Campaign 2K, as pundits review that pop quiz.

MICKEY KAUS, CIRCUS CLOWN: With his recent comments on Candidate Kerry, Mickey Kaus has finally won election as a certified, unionized, full-fledged circus clown. Try to believe that he wrote it:

Kerry Mystery Challenge: What is it that makes so many people, myself included, intensely dislike Sen. John Kerry? This is the great mystery surrounding his 2004 presidential campaign. I don’t think “aloof and arrogant,” the traditional Kerry negatives, are exactly it—he may be aloof and arrogant, but there are plenty of aloof and arrogant people I don’t rule out instantly due to their gross characterological deficiency, which is what I do with Kerry. It’s not just his “long record of opportunism,” though again that’s part of it. … I say we harness the power of the Web to solve the mystery! A copy of Kerry’s undoubtedly riveting book, The New War, to the kf reader (or non-kf reader) who most precisely describes the root of Kerry’s loathsomeness. ...(References to descriptions of Kerry by others may also qualify for the prize .) ... My own attempt: I think it starts with the phony furrowed brow. Perpetually furrowed and perpetually phony. It’s been furrowed for so long I doubt he could unfurrow it now even if his advisers convinced him that would be a good tack to take! ...Then add the sense that Kerry would never ever take a principled or unpopular stand if losing the argument might actually threaten to derail his precious political career. (He apparently made some anti-affirmative-action noises in 1992 and quickly backed down when the obvious groups complained.) Add in relentless, obvious self-promotion to the point of indignity—sucking up to Gore while jockeying for the vice-presidential nod in 2000, for example (as described by The New Republic’s Ryan Lizza). Plus the way his equally ambitious supporters call him “JFK.” It’s creepy. The man’s an animatronic Lincoln. There’s a metal plate in the back of his head—under all the glued-on “hair”—that they open up and stick screwdrivers in when he gets back to his office.... There, that’s my best shot. But I’m not sure it’s quite there. I know you can do better!
Let’s see. Kerry has a furrowed brow, and Kaus is troubled by his hair. By one of those mysterious coincidences, Kaus’ concern with Kerry’s hair surfaced hours before Matt Drudge began flogging the topic. Just another one of those events in which great minds coincide.

Does anyone believe Mickey Kaus is this stupid? We’ve met Kaus once—sharing a pleasant group meal—and noticed no signs of the fatuous soul he now directs at the next White House race. But in Campaign 2000, Mickey Kaus and his vacuous cohort all spilled out of their Volkswagen bus, making an unvarnished, two-year-long joke of your White House election. There’s no reason to doubt that they’ll do so again. Will earth tones give way to John Kerry’s hair? Yes, they will, if this vacuous crew has its way with your White House election.

A few months back, we flagged an astonishing piece about Candidate Kerry in The New Republic (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/10/02 and 9/11/02). That piece was written by the egregious Michel Crowley, co-author of one of the most stunningly dishonest bits of “journalism” in the entire 2000 campaign (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/9/00, 5/10/00, 5/11/00, and 5/12/00). At THE HOWLER, we don’t have the slightest idea what could lie behind such work. But no—we don’t believe that Kaus is this stupid. Maybe we should conduct a great contest to guess why he functions this way.

The Kauses made a joke of your last election. There’s every sign that they’ll do so again. And the time for courtesy is gone, long gone. American citizens who love their democracy will jeer such men as they move through the streets. Mickey Kaus, the circus clown, wants to make a joke of another election. That election, of course, belongs to you—until, like the last one, it’s stolen.

CLOWNWATCH: Tony Blankley reviews Kaus and his gang of merry men in this morning’s Washington Times. The clowns are tumbling into the ring. Don’t miss even one of their antics.

Your press corps is now made up of circus clowns. Here was one such trained buffoon, Judy Woodruff, on yesterday’s Inside Politics:

WOODRUFF: Just two days after moving closer to a presidential race, John Kerry already is in denial mode. His office says the senator does not pay $150 to get his hair cut, as claimed by Matt Drudge on the Internet. The Boston Herald quotes a source as saying that Kerry pays more like $75 to get what some have called the best hair in the Senate.

The Drudge Report, which we’ve not yet confirmed, says Kerry’s do is the work of a stylist at the chic Cristophe salon. And you may remember Cristophe from the $200 trim that he gave Bill Clinton on board Air Force One while it sat on the tarmac at LAX in Los Angeles. Clinton learned then what Kerry may know now. Even hair can be a cutting issue when you are or want to be president.

Incredible, isn’t it? Woodruff hasn’t yet confirmed Drudge’s report about where Kerry gets his hair cut! American citizens who love their democracy will jeer such people as they move through the streets.

TOMORROW: Spinning the quiz