Monday, April 28, 2008


Eleanor Clift wrote in Newsweek on Friday:
Hillary lost the media a long time ago through a combination of arrogance and entitlement, but she has won grudging respect in some unlikely quarters. Conservative commentators Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough are openly rooting for her, and Tony Blankley, who first gained notoriety as Newt Gingrich's spokesman, confessed somewhat sheepishly, "She's almost beginning to appeal to me."

Yes, absolutely, if hard-core Republicans who have publicly despised Hillary as a ball-busting, bra-burning "Feminazi" are openly rooting for Hillary to win, it must be because they have developed a respect for her and genuinely would like to see a Hillary Clinton White House.

Behold, the miracle of the ages! Hillary Clinton has converted Pat Buchanan!

This "honesty" factor is why I also love David Brooks so much, because in his columns he sheds all partisan feelings and ideology and takes a fresh, objective view of the world. Then, when he inevitably discovers that the doctrinaire conservative position is the correct one, I know he's telling the truth!

We see this kind of thing happen all the time, and yet no one on TV ever seems to catch this stuff in real time. They never consider that anyone in the media might have ulterior motives because, after all, media figures just comment on the news; they would never desire something so obscene as to affect the news! The notion that even the most partisan Republican, given a news show, would ever cover the news and give commentary with the objective of making it easier for the Republicans to win is absolutely preposterous to these people.

Why, what do you mean Bill Kristol isn't an honest broker?

No one ever asks during the media coverage if maybe there's a hidden agenda behind Bush's (or even, for crying out loud, Karl f**king Rove's!) "concern" that Democrats will hurt themselves by failing to back his proposals. Because if there's anything that keeps the Republican president up at night, it's his concern for the electoral viability of Democrats!

There's one historic incident of someone actually having a real affect on an election with this tactic that still rankles me when I think about it. From Joe Klein at Swampland:
...John McCain is probably the favorite candidate of Osama bin Laden, just as George W. Bush was Osama's presidential preference.

Why? Because both Bush and McCain have bought Osama's disinformation about Iraq being the central front in the war on terrorism. Of course, bin Laden wants the gullible neocons to take the Iraq bait because Afghanistan really is the central front of the war on terrorism--more precisely the Afghan-Pakistani border areas where the real Al Qaeda lives. The war in Iraq has been a grand strategic gift to Osama, keeping the U.S. military tied down elsewhere and off his tail.

Ron Suskind had a relevant scene in his excellent book The One Percent Doctrine: It's the Friday before election day in 2004 and Osama bin Laden has issued a videotape in which he lambastes President Bush. The top dawgs at the CIA are gathered to analyze the tape. Dep. Director John McLaughlin says, "I wonder who Osama is voting for?" Everyone cracks up because the answer is so obvious.

I remember this episode from the tail-end of the 2004 election pretty vividly, and I remember what everyone was saying after this video came out because the obtuseness of it infuriated me. You may recall the manner in which this video was popularized, specifically that it was trumpeted by every conservative and every Republican under the sun as indisputable proof that "Osama wants John Kerry to win," and I don't remember any of the Russerts or Matthews' (or, frankly, Kleins) discussing whether or not Osama was smart enough to bait that hook. Democrats on TV were laughed off the stage if they tried to make that point, and thus were left trying to close the deal for Kerry over the consensus argument that both Bush and bin Laden were unified in their opinion that Bush was "stronger on terrorism."

And 4 years later, when Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough (who became a GOP congressman during Gingrich's Contract with America) publicly root for Hillary Clinton to be president, Eleanor Clift writes it with utter credulity, never once doubting their motives.

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