IMAGINE ALL THE PUNDITS! The Posts Gene Robinson just couldnt wait to mention Obamas middle name: // link // print // previous // next //
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2006
UNDER THE DEAN DOME: Astonishing. In todays Post, David Broder offers the following assessment of two Ford Admin alumni. Earlier in his column, Broder has described the alumni of the Ford administration as a notable group:
BRODER (12/28/06): Many of those alumni who first exercised real power under Ford remained active in government. For all that he has borrowed from Ronald Reagan, President Bush owes the greatest debt to three stalwarts of economic and national security policy inherited from Ford—Vice President Cheney and former defense secretary Don Rumsfeld, both former chiefs of staff to Ford, and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, Ford's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.According to the ever-astonishing Dean, Rumsfeld and Cheney are stalwarts of national security policy to whom Bush owes the greatest debt. Thats astounding. What more can you say?
As weve told you: Its very hard to convey the depth of our millionaire pundit corps dysfunction—and to date, we liberals have failed to do so. Until we find ways to describe this group to the public, we liberals and progressives will have a hard time shaping the national discourse.
Special report: Our man of the year!
PART 1—IMAGINE ALL THE PUNDITS: Ceaseless dreamers can imagine a world in which liberal pundits act like same. In reality, we have the likes of Gene Robinson. As liberal pundits are wont to do, he passed on some groaning RNC spin in this passage concerning Obama:
ROBINSON (12/22/06): He has a couple of big problems, too, even if you figure that his name alone—Barack Hussein Obama—isn't enough to turn some people off. First is the fact that at 45, the senator looks barely 30. A president needs gravitas, not boyishness. Isn't there some sort of reverse Grecian Formula on the market that can give Obama some gray hair?Why in the world would a liberal pundit toss off this reference to Obamas middle name? Of course! Because the swift-boat gang has tossed it into the stew—and the weak, inane people who make up our press corps feel obliged to recite the RNCs spin-points, no matter how inane they may be. Youd think a liberal might even criticize this stupid appeal to irrational fear (sample column below). But Robinson simply passed the inanity on, without a word of comment.
No, our man of the year wont be Robinson; well announce our honoree tomorrow. But Robinsons column, on Obama and Hillary Clinton, was a masterwork of script-recitation—a column in which a liberal used his considerable power to recite pseudo-conservative points. Indeed, before he got to Obamas middle name, Robinson tossed off the two points which follow. Good grief! Heaven help us! Where do they find such liberals?
ROBINSON: The other problem is that many Democrats are certain that if [Hillary Clinton] gets the nomination, she'll lose in the general election. Democrats want badly to win in 2008, and Clinton has to be concerned at how much support Obama has attracted in such a short time.According to Robinson, Obamas real estate deal doesnt rise to the level of Whitewater—a scandal which turned out to be a hoax! (Of course, Robinsons Post hyped this scandal for years, even after the hoax was apparent.) And good grief! Robinson says that many Democrats are certain that Clinton would lose the general election—but he fails to note that shes running ahead in some national polls, leading McCain by seven points in a recent Newsweek survey. With liberal pundits like this on the prowl, who needs to bother with pseudo-conservatives? Robinsons column would have made perfect sense—if posted at townhall.com.
Readers, lets try to imagine a world in which liberal columnists acted like same. Heres the full passage Robinson typed—followed by what he might have written in that alternate universe:
WHAT ROBINSON ACTUALLY WROTE: The other problem is that many Democrats are certain that if she gets the nomination, she'll lose in the general election. Democrats want badly to win in 2008, and Clinton has to be concerned at how much support Obama has attracted in such a short time.Good God, thats awful! Now, imagine what you might have read in that alternate world—in a universe where liberal pundits actually acted like same:
WHAT ROBINSON MIGHT HAVE WRITTEN: The other problem is that many Democrats are certain that if she gets the nomination, she'll lose in the general election. Such Dems may be unduly nervous—Clinton leads McCain by 7 points in a recent Newsweek national poll. But Democrats want badly to win in 2008, and Clinton has to be concerned by primary voters perceptions, even those which may not be well founded.At this point, that questionable real estate deal is so trivial that wed simply omit it. But if we mentioned it, we certainly wouldnt bring up Whitewater—unless we wanted to say how easy it is to make mountains of molehills. But not Robinson! At the RNC, the idiots cheered when the Post scribe went out of his way to mention Whitewater. And when he tossed in Hussein, they laughed till they cried! But so it goes with our liberal pundits—scribes who seem to feel obliged to recite the RNCs dumbest points.
TOMORROW: Our man of the year is a liberal, too. His book—and that column—took the prize.
THERE THEY GO AGAIN: Uh-oh—there they go again! In this December 17 report about Obamas real estate deal, the Posts Peter Slevin manages to misstate the simplest facts:
SLEVIN (12/17/06): In June 2005, in what Obama now describes as a "boneheaded" mistake, Obama and Rezko's wife bought adjacent properties on Chicago's South Side, closing the deals on the same day. Seven months later, wanting a bigger yard for his $1.65 million house, Obama bought a slice of the Rezko property for $104,500.In fact, Obama says that his boneheaded mistake came much later in the story. Heres the report which Slevin bungles, from the Chicago Tribunes Rick Pearson:
PEARSON (12/15/06): Obama acknowledged "it was stupid" of him to get involved in the purchase almost one year ago of a strip of property adjoining his $1.65 million home from Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who owned a vacant lot next door. Rezko, a political insider and fundraiser, was indicted in October on charges of trying to extort campaign donations and kickbacks from firms seeking state business. Rezko has pleaded not guilty.Speaking of boneheads, do our presidential-level political reporters ever manage to get anything right? Plainly, Obama didnt say that his boneheaded mistake involved the original purchase of the adjacent properties, as Slevin mistakenly states. In fact, Obama says his mistake occurred seven months later, when he bought that strip of land from Rezko. Plainly, Slevin misstates what Obama told Pearson (Obama made similar statements to Slevin himself). Slevins mistake may seem minor. But if you followed Whitewater or Campaign 2K, you may already know the following: This is how our dumbest pseudo-scandals sometimes get themselves started.
For the record, heres Slevins description of the transaction which Obama calls a boneheaded mistake. Surely, anyone can see how deeply Obama misbehaved in this matter:
SLEVIN: Later, the Obamas bought a 10-foot-by-150-foot piece of the lot for $104,500. An appraisal put the value of the strip at $40,500, a spokesman said, but Obama considered it fair to pay one-sixth of the original price for one-sixth of the lot.There you have it—theres your scandal! Obama was so on the take from Rezko that he grossly overpaid for his land! But dont worry. If your press corps wants to make that a scandal, they can find a way do so—just as they did, for eight or nine years, with the Whitewater nonsense.
For the record, we see no sign that the mainstream press corps wants to go after Obama in the way they did with Clinton, then with Gore. But heres the basic question we ask: Would it kill them to get even simple facts right? Would it kill Slevin—and his slumbering editors—to describe what Obama really said?