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May 28, 2008

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again: Maverick War Hero™

he can be wrong on absolutely everything, but he'll still be the experienced foreign policy expert, in the eyes of our disgracefully shallow press corps. they'll just look the other way, again, whenever he says something absurd.

To be fair we must have talked with Iran through our proxy Israel in the '80s to sell them arms.

Gus: yes. Actually, we sent McFarlane off to talk to them directly. But the idea that we have "tried talking to them repeatedly" is bizarre.

I wouldn't call it a "gaffe," any more than it's a gaffe to say that tax cuts raise revenues.

Charles Krauthammer's latest column explains the Republican party line on this:

Most of the time you don't negotiate with enemy leaders because there is nothing to negotiate. Does Obama imagine that North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela are insufficiently informed about American requirements for improved relations?

There are always contacts through back channels or intermediaries. Iran, for example, has engaged in five years of talks with our closest European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to say nothing of the hundreds of official U.S. statements outlining exactly what we would give them in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Obama pretends that while he is for such "engagement," the cowboy Republicans oppose it. Another absurdity. No one is debating the need for contacts. The debate is over the stupidity of elevating rogue states and their tyrants, easing their isolation, and increasing their leverage by granting them unconditional meetings with the president of the world's superpower.

This is certainly more nuanced than the way we Democrats typically characterize the Republican position. I'm not saying he's being particularly honest, for the record. It seems to me, in general, that contacts with bad regimes are perfectly rational when Republicans do it and Chamberlain-like appeasement when Democrats do it. (Witness last year's Syria controversy.)

But I think if you sat McCain down and tried to nail him on this gaffe, he'd say something like "It's true, we've tried to talk to Iran through any number of channels, we just haven't been silly enough to accord them the prestige of a high-level meeting that couldn't possibly accomplish anything." Again, I'm not saying his position is correct, I'm just saying there's not a gaffe here.

To be fair, there's something else at play.

A lot of people write about what helps their side.

Everything else you cite is one of The Issues. Since every single issue points towards a the wisdom of voting Democrat this year -- reality's well-known liberal bias having come back to bite us in the ass of late -- liberals are writing about substantive stuff -- and thus get spread thin on all of the substantive news.

Whereas the only thing that can save McCain this year, as Mark Schmitt said the other day, is right-wing Identity Politics. Otherwise known as Standard Right Wing Smearing. So everyone who wants McCain to win will write on that -- and the topic de jour is "which concentration camp did Obama's grandfather help liberate"?

Even assuming a 7:3 ratio (matching the population) reality based : faith based ratio, the former group is still divided on a half a dozen topics, the latter united. And, of course, the faith community looms much larger in our media matrix than it does in, well, reality.

They're talking about this [email protected]#$% because it's all that they have left. Let's hope we don't let it work again.

(Because we *did* let the campaign get decided on these sorts of issues -- four & eight years ago -- and we *did* get what we deserve (if you think of it that way), as did the rest of the world get what it didn't. And now the only question is do we want to re-up for a third term...)

SF

"Everything else you cite is one of The Issues."

By "The Issues", do you mean policy stuff?

"Honestly: if this campaign is decided on those sorts of issues, we deserve what we get. It's just a pity our election will affect so many other people, who don't."

My take is that we deserve what we get if we keep thinking that elections will ever be decided based on policy issues.

I just hope this is the year where the bullshit campaigns are sent packing, and the campaign to end bullshit campaigning wins out.

Benjamin: I hope so too. Also: profanity violates the posting rules. (Workplace filters...)

The problem with universal suffrage is that this is what you get. Our system was designed for an electorate consisting of 12% of the population. I predict that Obama will offer another round of ‘rebate checks’ as a campaign promise. Bigger ones.

The reason that the Democrats tax billionaire hedge fund managers at 15% is because that is where their money comes from. They are no different than Republicans in that respect, don’t be fooled.

The mortgage meltdown is fascinating. Goldman Sachs under Paulson was the leader in bundling and selling the CDOs, but wasn’t holding them when the CDOs went bust, meaning they knew things that others didn’t.

Big Boys are among the ones who bought Paulson’s CDOs. These forces would get paid back by Goldman Sachs if they could prove fraud in court, which they probably could easily do. It’s a $3 trillion hit and that’s a lot of money, even to rich people. Paulson could have personal liability.

Thus Paulson moving into the Treasury in 2006, before things started to play out. Today we printed $14.4 billion to keep the banks afloat (in comparison with $166 million in Iraq). Paulson’s trying to hold the house together, but I think he will fail. Geologic deposits don’t care. Mother nature can be cruel. Potatoes can be yummy.

Hilzoy:

Well-stated, but you have to understand (and I believe you do) that certain politicians have a vested interest in steering the discussion away from substantive issues and toward relatively meaningless slips of the tongue. It's infuriating that the media lets them get away with this, of course, but to me that's where we "deserve what we get."

Unless an until the MSM starts suffering for their shoddy coverage, we'll continue to get shoddy coverage. (And as far as I can tell, lost ad revenue is the only sort of "suffering" that matters to them.)

whoops...sorry...

I just came over from Balloon-Juice. Profanity is encouraged over there

Sort of makes the flap over Sen. Clinton's recollections of Bosnia seem like a similar waste of time, does it not?

Brick Oven Bill:

Actually, 14.4 billion is the average amount of discount loans currently outstanding, calculated on a daily basis. (In other words, if you took the total of such loans outstanding from the Fed on May 1, on May 2, etc., and averaged those numbers, you'd get 14.4 billion.) That is what the Bloomberg article you linked to in the E Pur Si Muove thread is actually saying. It is not saying (as you said in that thread, and seem to be suggesting here) that, on average, the total of outstanding loans is going up by 14.4 billion each day.

"And yet, at about 1am, when I clicked on Memeorandum, I saw -- well, I can't show you, since I don't know how to do that,"

I do!

If you didn't bookmark the Memeorandum link at the time, what you want to do is go up to where it says "Archived Page Info," on the old page, or if you're on the current main page, go down to where it says "Archives," and where it says "page version," fill in your best guess as to what time your saw the previous Memeorandum iteration. Hit "return," or click "go."

The closer you get to the right time, the closer the page will be to the one you previously saw. Then link to the permalink of that item, as usual. That's all.

Oh, and I don't share all my marbles. That's my key insight. Along with hexapodia.

I take strong objection to Hilzoy's vile, revisionist, and deeply un-American slander regarding some supposed past nationalization of any portion of this nation's strategic toy reserve. For shame! For shame! I assure you, we had and have no collective marbles to lose!

I can attest to the fact that Gary has all of his marbles because I carried dozens of boxes of them down flights of treacherous stairs to the waiting marble conveyance vehicle when he moved to his new digs.

Marbles and several tons of romance novels. But let's not get into that again.

Hilzoy, this is America and there is no marble collective. You bear watching. Fortunately for you, the government doesn't steal as many marbles as it used to and can't afford to hire a guy to use his marble to see what your marbles are up to.

Each person gets one marble at birth and does with it what he or she will. After that, the market allocates scarce marbles.

Maybe you sell your marble to Donald Trump and he uses it as collateral to borrow more marbles from the bank, which more than likely lost its marbles, your marbles, and my marbles in the recent marble bubble.

Maybe you keep your marble and never let it out of your sight.

I wish I had.

My marble took a wicked bounce at the bus stop when I was nine and clattered down the storm sewer, never to be seen again.

This is why I am what I am today -- without marble portfolio.

I stole my sister's marble once but she demanded it back.

Then she lost hers, too.

I've found over time and through experience, however, that people who have lost their marbles are better conversationalists than folks who have retained their marbles.

You never know what they will say or do.

Pace Nombrilisme Vide, the real scandal here is Hilzoy's implication that those who don't have any marbles are somehow less patriotic than those who do.

Unless an until the MSM starts suffering for their shoddy coverage, we'll continue to get shoddy coverage.

not gonna happen.

i was reading some old Byron York columns at NRO yesterday, from the 02/03 era, and it completely brought back how completely and utterly wrong the pro-war media was. it was appalling.

are they suffering for it yet? nope.

and, via Atrios, look at the way they treated Ted Kennedy when he spoke out against the prospect of war. any suffering going on anywhere in the media for that? nope.

our media is a disgrace.

Let's not overlook the colossal ignorance of the American electorate. The 18% of Americans who think the sun revolves around the earth vote in droves in this country.
They who know nothing will believe anything. I blame the corporatization of news. Hey, no problem. It's just a harbinger of the death of democracy. It's the MSM's job sell a product and that product is John (The Great Hypocrite) McVain.

BTW: What is the under/over for the date when the N-word finds it way into the mouth of some desperate pundit?

Yeah, we get what we deserve. We gave up being a democracy in 1947 when we became a national security state.

As Daffy Duck once said, "Pronoun trouble."

We the American people deserve a vastly better governing class than we've got. But the fact is that in a nation of 300 million people, you can find a few thousand sociopaths and toadies willing to do the work of systematically lying to the rest of us, and willing to fight all challengers with a brutal thoroughness that makes people with any vestige of morals at all wear out and give up.

There's nothing original in this analysis, of course. Marxists have worked the ground a long time. So did Friedrick Hayek in the "How the Worst Come Out on Top" chapter of The Road to Serfdom. It's just that the American belief that we've escaped the rule of class makes it hard to look at the structures by which our society is actually organized. Essentially, we're living in the midst of a coup, the successor to the one planned by the folks who tried recruiting Smedley Butler back in the 1930s. They never did give up their hatred of a government that would help the masses, they eventually found an ideology they could organize a movement around, and they took the levers of power while distracting the rest of us. Now we have a media and intellectual establishment that slants things for their convenience.

They deserve compact little jail cells and fair trials. But they won't get them.

There is a pantload of problems bearing down on us while we whistle past the graveyard. The amazing thing in the last 8 years is how clueless and deluded the people in charge really are - CEOs, Bankers, government and military people.

The little guys are the first to feel the pain, but at the top they have the luxury of living in their fantasy world until it all comes crashing down ala 1930s or worse.

I'm perfectly content to let them play their games, especially as there does not seem to by anything we can do about it.

Just watched a CNN report in response to McClellan's sundry claims, including the charge that the media rolled over for the Bush administration.

One part of this report was an investigation into how the media in fact performed in putting the Bush administration's representations to the test.

The methodology in this investigation? Asking the leading media pundits how they thought they themselves had done in their own reporting.

Turns out, they actually performed satisfactorily. (You have to understand, 9-11 and all that.)

The methodology in this investigation? Asking the leading media pundits how they thought they themselves had done in their own reporting.

lazy. i'm sure the D.O.D. could've supplied some retired generals to evaluate them. if they'd only asked.

Agent Zero;

Thanks for the response. I see my misreading of the discount reading average (hack economist).

Sort of makes the flap over Sen. Clinton's recollections of Bosnia seem like a similar waste of time, does it not?

Not really. Obama was telling of recollections of a grand-uncle from event 60 years past. The grand-uncle could have forgotten which camp he helped liberate, or he could have told Obama many years ago, or Obama could have just mixed the two camps up. (Buchenwald and Auschwitz are probably two most famous camps. For someone with no direct experience of the camps, it would be easy to confuse them.)

On the other hand, Clinton was talking about something that supposedly happened to her, about 10 years ago.

Not the same to me, at all.

(They may both be somewhat trivial, but when Clinton was campaigning on how "hardened" and trustworthy she was, her gaffe seemed a much bigger deal.)

Importantly, Obama's mistake did not benefit him at all, or somehow embellish the facts of the story.

Clinton's however, was very different. Embellishing, making herself look better, etc.

It is easier than trivial to distinguish between the two cases.

I once referred to a penguin as a coconut - honest to god. I have no idea why, but I did recall doing once it was pointed out to me, though I had no idea I did it the moment it happened. I forgive Obama.

Someone -- I think it might have been quoted on Sullivan? -- said that the one genuinely interesting thing about the Auschwitz/Buchenwald flap was that Obama had not told this story before, and only brought it up in response to a question about PTSD. I agree with that.

Let's not overlook the colossal ignorance of the American electorate. The 18% of Americans who think the sun revolves around the earth vote in droves in this country.

Well, 18% of the electorate as measured by said survey either thinks the sun revolves around the earth, or thinks that it's funny to mess with survey results, because, well, you know... it's funny.

This observation needs made once more, while emphasizing that this doesn't perforce make things better. We can hope that such individuals take elections more seriously, or don't care enough to vote, but I'm nervous of counting on either. I am somewhat reminded of a conversation initiated by a friend when Schwarzenegger made his first electoral bid (clarification: neither of us were residents of California, so this was somewhat abstract to us). Said friend commented on how great it was that he was running, because it would be so cool for Arnie to be governor. I cited in modest detail condemnations of his policy proposals, his advisers, and even his personal character, this latter being something I did only reluctantly, but nothing else had swayed my interlocutor, a centerist in American political terms, one jot. This was finally responded to with a polite but wholly insincere agreement that he was bad solely to move the conversation away from the unpleasantry of discussing something political in a non-impressionistic manner. This person is the sort who votes, too. Though I hold out hope that most who might be swayed to such a shallow view of political matters can't be bothered.

(Sorry for the tangential anecdote.)

The real question is: Even though left blogistan is way more prolific and diverse than right blogistan, why do the righties still end up controlling the dialog? First, the establishment media and now the blogosphere. Is there no place where reality dominates? How does Memeorandum work exactly?

Slag: Money, first of all - right-wing sources of wealth are much more willing to contribute to creating and maintaining a useful media infrastructure than their counterparts on the left. There is, for instance, no left-wing equivalent at all to Richard Mellon Scaife, nor to Rush Limbaugh, and this is because there are no big left-wing donors willing to take losses for years and decades on end to wear out and displace potential competitors. (Nor, for that matter, is there a left-wing equivalent to Sun Myung Moon.)

But even setting aside calculated efforts, the fact is that the upper reaches of military-industrial complex society in Washington DC comprise a pretty small pond. People work together, do business with each other, serve on charitable boards together, shop together, go to the same parties, trade tips on realtors and restaurants. They bank and invest together, and the quantity and nature of their assets give them shared interests when it comes to policy. Their kids go to school together, and they share lawyers to bail their kids out of trouble with the law. This is how social classes work, and it takes a lot of effort to avoid getting sucked into it too far.

We've seen that liberals can give generously when motivated properly. We haven't yet seen the pitch that will make them realize that they do in fact need to control whole media entities of their own, for sustained leverage in larger acts of reform.

I'm feeling unusually grumpy about the "do we deserve it" thing, and this is my sticking point, I think: Fundamentally, I think good government is due even to ugly and stupid people who don't know what they're talking about.

Sure, most people blow a lot of opportunities that come their way. So do I. So does everyone I know. I don't think that good government should be like working out one's salvation in fear and trembling, though. In a sensible society, people should be able to count on those most concerned with it doing a pretty good job, and be able to leave most of the heavy lifting to others most of the time. It is not uneasonable for people to assume that there isn't a dedicated effort to waste money and disrupt the efficient operation of key functions, just as it's not unreasonable for people to assume that the president isn't going to war on a whim and screwing over soldiers and public alike to get his pointless brutal conflict.

It turns out that such assumptions are wrong when we get to the conservative machine. But that's because the conservative movement is the most morally bankrupt in American life since the KKK, and exploited a lot of people's hopes, fears, and good will. The shame is to the deceivers first of all, and then can see who else to blame. Blaming the public at large for the successes of the conservative movement and its leaders' schemes is like blaming the depositors at banks robbed by professional criminals, or Vietnamese peasants for the harm American GIs suffered from Agent Orange.

It strikes me as important to keep the perpetrators in the spotlight. Yes, we should identify and fix the flaws in our social institutions they exploited, and we have to cultivate some habits of thought to make some cons harder to pull off. But we - the vast majority of us, even the ones that people posting here might regard as rubes and dupes - did not deserve that the scum on top are doing to us all now.

and the real explanation for Hillary Clinton's RFK moment.

Actually, I think talking about the real reason the blogosphere blindly followed the mainstream media into making Hillary Clinton's anodyne and inoffensive comments about the 1968 and 1992 elections as if they were a big story (see John F. Harris on how he got you all doing it) is worth talking about.

Otherwise, what's to stop it happening over, and over, and over again, every time Harris or someone else like him decides what you should all be discussing, and you do?

Because not only is the US failing on all the things you outline, the US media has been failing for longer than that: and while blogs used to be an independent view on current events, more and more they simply seem to be accepting the mainstream narrative - making stories out of non-stories.

"Turns out, they actually performed satisfactorily."

I, for one, am much relieved.

"The real question is: Even though left blogistan is way more prolific and diverse than right blogistan, why do the righties still end up controlling the dialog? First, the establishment media and now the blogosphere."

Um, wtf?

How, exactly, has the dialog of the blogosphere been "controlled" by "righties"? What are you talking about?

"How does Memeorandum work exactly?"

A series of algorithims based on how many links a news story gets from blogs with a certain size of leadership. It's done by a guy whose name I could tell you, but then I'd have to ki--, no, actually, you could write him at the given address and ask. Try clicking the "about" link at the top of the page.

Regardless of how Memeorandum works, what's it got to do with anyone "controlling" the blogosphere, or its "dialog"? How is it that every lefty/Democratic blogger and website around has managed to slip these "controls"?

"Actually, I think talking about the real reason the blogosphere blindly"

Yes, if someone has a different opinion, they are "blind." It couldn't be something that, at worst, reasonable people could disagree about. No, you are simply right, and there's only one correct view, and it's yours.

"followed the mainstream media into making Hillary Clinton's anodyne and inoffensive comments"

See above again: no, it isn't possible others could view it differently, and not be blind; they have to be incapable of thinking for themselves, but -- fortunately -- like Brick Oven Bill -- you are here to announce to us all The One Correct View.

Most helpful. The scales will now fall from the eyes of all those with incorrect views. Thanks muchly.

As it happens, I don't track who says what about what; I do know that I said not a word about Clinton's RFK remarks, or any of her recent remarks, subsequent to the Bosnia sniper thing, which you also asserted only blind people could view as in any way dubious. But it certainly is useful to have so many people around here able to pierce the fog, and inform us less perceptive minds of how we don't think for ourselves. Good job.

Unless an until the MSM starts suffering for their shoddy coverage, we'll continue to get shoddy coverage.

They ARE suffering, just not enough yet. Network and cable news (or 'news') viewership is down, newspaper readership is, of course, WAY down. The news media are hated more than ever. Their wretchedness and fear make them bottom-feed all the more, I think, but maybe it will change in a few years. I'm not prone to willful optimism, but perhaps several more years of ruthless coverage via the net will affect some changes. The MSM is being marginalized already, surely. How many people are going to be reading The Daily Bugle in 2015? I think we ought to be hoping that the internet way is going to be better...

Gary - Jes didn't say that anyone was blind for not sharing her opinion. Were you reading her actual words? She was characterizing how she thought the blogosphere reacted, i.e., blindly, or without thinking it through. She didn't refer to the relationship between her own and anyone else's opinion.

"blind" != "unthinking"

In general, anyway.

From today's WaPo:

David Axelrod, Obama's top political adviser, said that the campaign will devote more staff members to policy (there are now seven) and that the senator's speeches will increasingly highlight his proposals.

Ah, Democratic suicide....

...but, apparently, "blindly" does overlap some with "unthinkingly".

Oops.

jes: Sen. Clinton "greatest hits" if you will, if taken individually might consist of anodyne statements. Taken collectively, many of us see disturbing trends. Saying, as a reason to continue her campaign, "hey, you remember that time the favorite was ASSASSINATED" -- in the context of US political history I cannot understand how you wish to wave that away as indisputably inoffensive. People were, in fact, offended.

I am willing to extend the benefit of the doubt that she didn't mean it that way, but even setting that aside her argument was a poor one. It didn't account for the *start* of the primary season being so much earlier this year, nor for the fact that her husband had effectively wrapped up his nomination in April but was not "put over the top" until June.

What I do wish the mainstream media would push back harder on is the ever-shifting goalposts and rationales from the Clinton campaign. Everyone agreed to the same rules at the start, and creating resentment amongst millions of her supporters *now* by claiming that those rules shouldn't apply or aren't "fair" -- because she couldn't win under them -- is deeply unhelpful to the process.

farmgirl: Sen. Clinton "greatest hits" if you will, if taken individually might consist of anodyne statements. Taken collectively, many of us see disturbing trends.

Oh, so do I. It is an extremely disturbing trend: the mainstream media's assault on Clinton - on both Clintons - is one of them: the willingness of the US public to be suckered into believing that if there is enough stage smoke, that must mean that somewhere there's fire.

Or, more appropriately: what's been happening since 1992 is that the mainstream media, and the Republican party and its supporters, have gladly been flinging buckets of brown stuff over the Clintons: brown stuff which has been coming straight out of their own asses.

They have then been chanting, loudly, "With this much brown stuff there must be a pony somewhere!"

And for some reason, after 16 years of this, many Democratic Party supporters and left-wingers have now decided that even though they've watched how the contents of the buckets were produced, year by year and ball by ball, still, with this much brown stuff being thrown over her, there must be a pony under it all.

No, farmgirl. There is no pony. The "disturbing trends" you see are bucket-loaded.

There are real criticisms to make of Hillary Clinton - but they've got nothing to do with the media's facility for pulling lines out of context and making much of little.

Clinton's presence in the race has meant the US media have tended to target her rather than Obama. The moment she ceases to be there as the target, Obama will start receiving the bucket-loads - full scale, top load, "disturbing trends" and all.

...while blogs used to be an independent view on current events, more and more they simply seem to be accepting the mainstream narrative - making stories out of non-stories.

This is the most content-free statement I've seen all week. It literally means nothing. Who are these blogs? Is OW one of them? Jes doesn't say. How much are they accepting mainstream media narratives? More than they were before. How much was that? Jes doesn't say. So, presumably, these unspecified "blogs" might have accepted those narratives 0.01% of the time last year and this year, they might accept them 0.05% of the time. A factor of five would certainly be a significant increase. And yet utterly pointless. What is the evidence for these assertions? Jes doesn't say. Perhaps she'd write it in the margin of this book if only the margin were larger.

I must congratulate you Jes: by writing incredibly vague meaningless statements that implicate no one and convey nothing, you avoid any potentially useful discussion that might call into question your conspiracy theory views on how liberals in the US are completely under the sway of media narratives (thus explaining our consistent support for the Iraq war and the Bush administration). Well done!

This is a shame really: at one point in the past, Jes may have written things that were somewhat more interesting than she writes now. Le sigh.

Oh, so do I. It is an extremely disturbing trend: the mainstream media's assault on Clinton - on both Clintons - is one of them: the willingness of the US public to be suckered into believing that if there is enough stage smoke, that must mean that somewhere there's fire.

Let us not forget just how stupid some members of the US public are. For example, that idiot Delong was completely suckered by the media into believing that Hillary Clinton was extraordinarily ineffective during her 94 health care efforts. What a fool he is! If only he spent any time at all on media criticism, perhaps by complaining loudly and regularly about the WAPO Death Watch! But how clever he is: he preemptively deflects Jes' criticism by talking about how stupid the (British) media is right before talking about how incompetent Clinton was.

And for some reason, after 16 years of this, many Democratic Party supporters and left-wingers have now decided that even though they've watched how the contents of the buckets were produced, year by year and ball by ball, still, with this much brown stuff being thrown over her, there must be a pony under it all.

Who are these Dem Party supporters and left-wingers? Is hilzoy one of them? Me? Gary? farmgirl? Howard Dean? Nell? Do you have any evidence to support your assertions about what these unnamed unspecified people believe? Or are these assertions faith based?

There are real criticisms to make of Hillary Clinton - but they've got nothing to do with the media's facility for pulling lines out of context and making much of little.

Really? Can you enumerate them? I don't think I've ever seen you claim that any particular critique of Clinton is legitimate. If you think some criticisms are, could you please describe what they might be?

Clinton's presence in the race has meant the US media have tended to target her rather than Obama. The moment she ceases to be there as the target, Obama will start receiving the bucket-loads - full scale, top load, "disturbing trends" and all.

Do you have any evidence that this is the case, or are these beliefs faith based? I mean, which attacks on Obama has the media failed to hammer home?

Do you have any evidence that this is the case, or are these beliefs faith based? I mean, which attacks on Obama has the media failed to hammer home?


Turbulence, there has been surprisingly little on Rezko. I really expected round the clock coverage of his trial.

I'm also curious, Jes, what criticisms of Clinton and her campaign you find legit, and admit to being a little baffled at the sustained intensity of your defense for a candidate who's so proudly pro-war, anti-diplomacy, pro-theocracy (idolotrous theocracy, at that), pro-censorship, and anti-labor.

trilobite, what hypothesis are you proposing? Are you saying that the media's indifference to Rezko stems entirely from Clinton's presence in the race? Or are you saying that the media's failure to obsess about completely fictitious non-issues regarding Rezko (as they did during the 90s for the Clintons) stems from their fixation on completely fictitious non-issues regarding the Clintons?

I agree that there has been relatively little focus on Rezko, but I think that is due to two factors: 1. there's no there there, and 2. much of the media hostility was driven by right wing smear merchants who are keeping their powder dry until the election. Regarding (1), do you really think the Chicago newspapers that have spent the most time looking into this would really have backed off the story if there was something there?

In addition, I don't see the media ginning up completely fictitious assaults on Clinton as they did in the 90s. They have acted inappropriately IMHO, and their displays of sexism have been sickening, but the inappropriateness seems to have been a matter of focusing on some issues more than they should have rather than inventing issues out of whole cloth.

Re the media's treatment of Clinton:

Disturbing media narrative of the day

Disturbing media narrative of the day

is it a "narrative" if she initiated it ?

"nursing a generous tumbler of amber-colored liquid"

"Mrs. Clinton steadied herself between two seats"

"'I did a lot of things before you were born.' She swirled the bourbon in her glass and nodded mischievously"

She initiated that?

Oh, and what about the headline:

"A Tumbler for a Tough Campaign"

She drinks because things are rough for her.

do you really think the Chicago newspapers that have spent the most time looking into this would really have backed off the story if there was something there?

As a local, I can say that the profoundly conservative Chicago Tribune WANTED to find links between Rezko and Obama and seemed to be practicing actual investigative journalism to determine whether this was true.

Believe you me, if they'd found something, there'd be plenty of noise.

Turbulence: but the inappropriateness seems to have been a matter of focusing on some issues more than they should have rather than inventing issues out of whole cloth.

Let's see: just recently they invented the claim that Clinton compared Florida and Minnesota to Zimbabwe; they invented the claim that Clinton was thinking Obama might be assassinated like Bobby Kennedy; and you know, there have been so many examples like that since January that I've lost track of them all. (The fabricated story about Bill Clinton "race-baiting" because he mentioned Jesse Jackson was another stand-out, though.)

There's a question of why people have been so ready to accept the fabricated stories about Clinton. Part of this may be that they're so used to hating on Hillary Clinton; part of it is certainly that open misogyny is still fully acceptable in American politics, so many disparaging remarks and insults can be made about Clinton for being a woman that could not equivalently be made about Obama for being black without damaging the speaker more than Obama.

Not that Obama hasn't suffered from indirect racism - but while there's an anti-Clinton C.U.N.T. t-shirt and anti-Clinton "nutcracker" souvenirs, there's no anti-Obama N.I.G.G.E.R. t-shirt nor anti-Obama monkey-dolls. Direct racism is out of court, and that's great; direct sexism is still in play, and that's considered normal/acceptable.

But I think finally, it's because the technique used is to base these fake stories using a phrase out of context and giving it the context that's wanted to damage Clinton. This is the same technique that will likely be used against Obama - the number of people reading this who probably do think "Hey, Clinton really did say something about Zimbabwe, so it wasn't an invented story, was it?" - prove that it's a technique that works.

She initiated that?

seems to me that she initiated, and is apparently maintaining, the image of herself as Drinkin Buddy Hillary. if that's not the image she wants to present, there's a trivially simple way to avoid doing so.

just recently they invented the claim that Clinton compared Florida and Minnesota to Zimbabwe

WTF ?

Not that Obama hasn't suffered from indirect racism

W.T.F. ???

there's no anti-Obama N.I.G.G.E.R. t-shirt nor anti-Obama monkey-dolls

What The
Fnck ?

are you serious ??

Let's see: just recently they invented the claim that Clinton compared Florida and Minnesota to Zimbabwe

Are you really saying that Clinton didn't compare FL to Zimbabwe? Can you explain what she was trying to say when she spoke about Zimbabwe during a speech in FL that criticized the DNC for failing to count the FL "primary" votes.

cleek - Would you agree or disagree with the following statements:

1. The article paints Clinton as a lush, or at least someone who is developing a drinking problem.

2. "Having a drink with the locals" is an extremely common event in political campaigns.

1. disagree. it paints her as someone who's playing-up the fact that she's comfortable with drinking.

2. disagree. i can't recall Obama or McCain doing shots anywhere.

I'm not cleek, but I'll take a stab:

1. The article paints Clinton as a lush, or at least someone who is developing a drinking problem.

I don't agree with that at all. I think the article paints her as being calculating in that way the media likes to obsess over, but I don't see anything indicating that she has a drinking problem.

2. "Having a drink with the locals" is an extremely common event in political campaigns.

Dunno. I don't think it is. Even if it was, would you agree that it is interesting when a politician goes from almost never drinking alcohol in public to drinking in public very often starting at the time they need to target the working class white demographic?

"This is a shame really: at one point in the past, Jes may have written things that were somewhat more interesting than she writes now."

Jes often writes pungent, smart, insightful observations. And sometimes she's very funny. She has a good heart. I greatly admire and respect her passion, and her convictions, many of which I share.

She's very smart, and often is spot-on, and she's overall very much worth reading and listening to.

But she also, it is my impression after several years of reading her, apparently finds it more or less impossible to imagine that any honest person could conceivably see any issue differently than the way she does, and she often tends to write as if it is a fact that if someone has said X about Y, that it incontrovertibly means that they believe Terrible Thing Z. And then she often hectors that person, and sometimes thereafter will find it very difficult indeed to stop claiming that said person Believes Terrible Thing Z, and wants Terrible Thing 1 to happen, because it's too obvious to argue about that this is so.

Seeing other people's POV doesn't seem to be one of her many strengths.

But I do recommend not letting any such tendency -- which may be now completely gone, since she's not been posting here in quite some time, and people change and grow! And I may be all wrong, anyway, and be being completely unfair to her! -- stop you from considering her own POV, and her words and noticing that when she's right, she's often very right.

Plus the sense of humor, and good heart, thing. And she has other admirable qualities. We all have flaws.

To be sure, Jes' stated opinion of me is apparently quite lower than mine is of her, but that doesn't bother me. (No more than I feel I suffer at her policy of generally pretending I don't exist: oh, the pain, the pain.)

But I do respond to her just like anyone else: agreeing when she's said something on point, and disagreeing when I disagree, and calling her on when I think she's being arrogant, inflexible, and dogmatic.

(Hey, someone should assemble Jes and Slart's Greatest Hits of Exchanges.)

Oh, and in my previous comment, I -- if it isn't obvious -- meant "readership," not "leadership."

Clinton misspeaks. Obama misspeaks. McCain misspeaks.

Can never remember a presidential campaign where every -- it does seem like every -- "misspeak" turns into Issue No. 1.

And let's not just blame the MSM -- the blogoshpere jumps on these "misspeaks" too, so long as the guy who did the misspeaking is not their candidate.

Issue No. 1 should be the Economy.

Let the MSM forget that.

Let the Republicans forget that.

But the Democratic Party should not, not if it wants to win back the presidency. Issue No. 1 = the Economy.

I'd say that #1 is actually the war, because as long as it's going on, it'll be the excuse for doing nothing about other matters. "How dare you bring up something that might cost money when we've got more Middle Easterners to humiliate and torture?"

But then that's the heart of why I can't get enthusiastic about Clinton, ahead of all her other faults of policy and campaigning.

Alternative, if #1 is the economy, then the highest priority has to be removing the things that distract the people and government from considering what the economy needs. And that's the war.

Are you really saying that Clinton didn't compare FL to Zimbabwe?

Yes, I am really saying that I read what Clinton said and at no point did she compare Florida to Zimbabwe.

Can you explain what she was trying to say when she spoke about Zimbabwe during a speech in FL that criticized the DNC for failing to count the FL "primary" votes.

I think she was trying to point out that failing to count the votes is a bad thing to do. You could say - and as a one-off example, rather than as part of a disturbing trend, I would say it - that Americans are so unused to "thinking internationally" that it occurred to no one that Zimbabwe elections are in the news right now.

Where in what she said do you think she was saying "Florida is like Zimbabwe"? Can you quote, cite, anything? Or are you just operating mentally how the media expects - "She did say Zimbabwe, so we can claim she made comparisons!"

Cleek - No, I hadn't seen (or heard about) the Obama in 2008 monkey t-shirt before: yuck. :-( (I'm disturbed, however, that Wonkette is apparently using it to attack Clinton and Robert Byrd...)

The "Obama is a Muslim" meme is, I believe, indirect racism - it wouldn't work if Obama were white, but it's not as blatant as the "C.U.N.T.", "nutcrackers", "monkey" crap. The attacks on Wright and via Wright, Obama, are also indirect racism: McCain and Bush can have the support of angry white Christians who damn America for being too liberal, but an angry black Christian who damns America for being too racist is an opening for attack. Still: indirect, not direct. The monkey t-shirt is direct, and it's appalling.

"If you think some criticisms are, could you please describe what they might be?"

Jes has strongly criticized various folks for the Error of saying anything negative at all about Senator Clinton, or, possibly, any Democrat, during the campaign, on the grounds that it only give succor to The Enemy, and only negative statemetns about the Republicans and now John McCain should be engaged in by all Correct-Thinking People. (This is likely not a description Jes would agree with, and I certainly encourage her to correct me while pretending I don't exist, and state in her own words her views on such things, and anything else.)

So unless she's decided that the Democratic race for the nomination is over, I won't be surprised if she doesn't venture forth any criticisms. Or even after that, before November. But, hey, who knows?

"Turbulence, there has been surprisingly little on Rezko. I really expected round the clock coverage of his trial."

If you read the Chicago Trib, there is such coverage. But it's all about Rezko's corrupt ties to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and other Illinois politicians. The fact is that Obama only had the most minimal dealings with Rezko, and there was nothing whatever corrupt about them -- just a bad appearance -- and the press has done due diligence and can't find anything more on Obama and Rezko because it doesn't exist.

But the coverage of Rezko's trial and doings has been exhaustive. It's just not national news; you have to read the Illinois papers and coverage to read it.

hilzoy,

I find McClellan's book more interesting than you do in that this is the first time a true Bush loyalist -- I doubt if George and Laura will be sending him a Christmas card this year -- came out and told the unvarnished truth.

He buries Rove.

Who in the Bush White House -- much less the Republican Party -- ever buried Karl Rove?

Moreover, if there is real verifiable truth to some of McClellan's accusations, one could argue for impeachment of the president and vice president.

But then, we would doubtlessly hear over and over again by the current leaders of the Democratic Party -- especially the spineless Nancy Pelosi -- that the country "has no stomach for impeachment."

A sidenote: Don't know about the blogoshpere since this is the only one (other than RealClear) I've tuned into in more than a month, but as far as the MSM: CNN spent nearly its full hour of AC360 last night on the McClellan story, practically burying the Obama "misspeak" -- as did MSNBC and Keith Olbermann, who would never make a big deal over anything that might hurt Sen. Obama, for whom he has a serious man-crush.)

1. disagree. it paints her as someone who's playing-up the fact that she's comfortable with drinking.

2. disagree. i can't recall Obama or McCain doing shots anywhere.

cleek - Thanks - that pretty much closes out that debate.

Sorry, Bruce, but Issue No. 1 for me is the Economy.

I go to bed many a night worrying how the bills are going to get paid, as I am sure millions of other Americans do.

Issue No. 1 = the Economy.

It's the issue that will be a winning one for the Dems in the fall.

Turbulence, I advanced no hypothesis at all. You asked Jesurgislac whether there were any Obama stories that the media had gone light on, and I answered.

I have no idea why the Rezko story isn't bigger. Sure, there's no there there, as I have explained on this blog more than once, but since when has that stopped anyone?

And, Jesurgislac, I agree that Senator Clinton's RFK reference was merely chronological, but I don't see how her comparison to Zimbabwe elections could be anything but a comparison to Zimbabwe elections.

"Disturbing media narrative of the day"

a) What other stories from today are you citing as part of this narrative? I assume you're not saying a single story is, in itself, a narrative?

b) What's the disturbing part, exactly?

"I think she was trying to point out that failing to count the votes is a bad thing to do."

Count what votes? The votes in two primaries held not to count by the rules of the Democratic Party, and which all the candidates signed off on and agreed that they'd adhere to the rules about?

Or the votes in primaries held after a candidate has no chance of winning (i.e., should John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, et al, be complaining because they were "pressured" to drop out, and that the potential votes for them in all the subsequent states after they withdrew aren't being "counted" for them? Or which votes, exactly?

"1. The article paints Clinton as a lush, or at least someone who is developing a drinking problem."

Give me that paragraph in a piece of professional fiction, with any fictional name, and I'll observe as a professional editor that the text supports no such highly eccentric reading, which has to be projected in from beyond that available text.

But, of course, this is only subjective opinion, so you're entitled to your own reading.

I'd say the same thing if the name there was "Obama," though, or anyone else. Believe me or not.

"Direct racism is out of court, and that's great;

Sure. Absolutely. Spot-on.

Clinton on Zimbabwe and our elections.

"I have no idea why the Rezko story isn't bigger."

What Rezko story, specifically, do you think should be "bigger"?

"And, Jesurgislac, I agree that Senator Clinton's RFK reference was merely chronological"

For the record, I'm strongly inclined to agree. I'm inclined to believe it was simply thoughtless, and nothing worse, and so nothing to get in a tizzy about.

Trying to get Florida and Michigan's delegates: that's something to be in a tizzy about, as it's completely Rovian. And that's where Senator Clinton lost me.

re Clinton on Zimbabwe:

We’re seeing that right now in Zimbabwe," Clinton explained. "Tragically, an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people.

So we can never take for granted our precious right to vote. It is the single most important, privilege and right any of us have, because in that ballot box we are all equal. You’re equal to a billionaire. You’re equal to the president, every single one of us.”

Sure sounds to me like she's equating the DNC to the president of Zimbabwe. In spite of the fact that the Florida Democratic Party (not a Republican among them) was given several options to have their votes counted and refused them all. So, yeah, "out of context" is pure hog-wash.

"Give me that paragraph in a piece of professional fiction"

I think you already got it.

which part of that piece was fiction, david ?

The narrative part, where having a bourbon is part of some larger story about someone's character. Like how Obama not being able to stomach more than one Bud fits in with his elitism. Like how Kucinich believing he saw a UFO fits in with him being a nutbag in every aspect of his thought, even though everyone else on the stage believes in an omnipotent judeophile.

The narrative part, where having a bourbon is part of some larger story about someone's character.

but Hillary is encouraging that story.

this part of her image is one of the few things she has complete control over: if she didn't want to be known as someone who's at ease with the corn squeezins, then she would've stopped drinking Maker's in front of reporters. she's not new to this (according to her, anyway)

in other words, i continue to think this whiskey-drinkin regular-Jane thing is deliberate on her part.

david,

Can you cite many public reports of Clinton's public drinking during her 2000 or 2006 Senate campaigns? Presumably, if her public drinking now is either an authentic expression of who she is or simply a reflection of the universal need for politicians to drink as part of campaigns, one should be able to find ample reports of drinking during those two previous campaigns. Alternatively, if she really had no history of drinking on the campaign trail before, one should have great difficulty uncovering such stories.

"Presumably, if her public drinking now is either an authentic expression of who she is or simply a reflection of the universal need for politicians to drink as part of campaigns, one should be able to find ample reports of drinking during those two previous campaigns."

To that, I can only quote a wise commenter:

I'd argue that what drives the news cycle is when politicians do something that fits well with an existing media narrative.

If that's true, we'd be able to find ample reports only if they fit well with an existing narrative.

David,

Granularity matters. It is true that what drives the national news cycle is when reporters can fit some random event into a preexisting narrative. However, I didn't ask about the national news cycle. Clinton's Senate races involved lots of campaigning in small towns throughout NY where her campaign events would be covered by local media. CNN and the NYT couldn't care less about those events, but you can be damn sure that local and regional papers covered them since they were the most interesting thing happening that day.

"but Hillary is encouraging that story."

You're saying that she's encouraging the story about her encouraging the story? Because that's what the real story is. Everyone else is trying to act like regular-ol' people as well. Budweisers wincingly guzzled, blue jeans uncharacteristically worn, oddly reappearing flag pins, prairie dog massacres in the rolling hills of Scranton, god-awful fake southern accents, etc., etc.

But that's not my beef. Public drinking is fine. Having to steady yourself is not so good -- it reveals a loss of control. Drinking more heavily when your campaign is on the rocks reveals a weakness -- the whole thing is getting to you.

But whatever. I can grok the point of view that I'm reading a bunch of stuff into it. It's not explicitly there, so I'm not going to convince anyone who doesn't see it.

Turbulence: "Can you cite many public reports of Clinton's public drinking during her 2000 or 2006 Senate campaigns? Presumably, if her public drinking now is either an authentic expression of who she is or simply a reflection of the universal need for politicians to drink as part of campaigns, one should be able to find ample reports of drinking during those two previous campaigns. Alternatively, if she really had no history of drinking on the campaign trail before, one should have great difficulty uncovering such stories."

At a casual dinner [in Estonia] with Senate colleagues Graham, John McCain, and Susan Collins, all Republicans, the waiter followed local custom by bringing a bottle of vodka and shot glasses, whereupon Clinton reached over and began pouring; a drinking contest ensued. McCain’s staff seemed pained by the revelation, and declined my request for an interview, because the last thing a Republican presidential hopeful wants floating around in the media is word that he’s becoming booze pals with Hillary Clinton. And McCain denied the story to Jay Leno. But when I recently intercepted him walking through the Capitol, McCain lit up at the recollection. “It’s been fifty years since I’d been in a drinking game,” said McCain, who as a former naval aviator knows whereof he speaks. He added, admiringly, “She can really hold her liquor.”
- Joshua Green, from the Nov 2006 issue of The Atlantic. Also see 2008 May Test Clinton's Bond With McCain, which briefly mentions the vodka-infused senatorial bonding session.

As to whether the Clinton campaign is 'encouraging' the meme, last Friday's Torygraph:

...Terry McAuliffe, Mrs Clinton's campaign manager, said in an interview that Mrs Clinton had 'beaten' Mr McCain in the drinking contest.

He said: 'She loves to sit, throw 'em back. We all hear about the story that she and John McCain actually had a shot contest, I think in the Ukraine or somewhere around the world. And she actually beat John McCain in a shot contest.

'She's a girl from Illinois who likes to throw 'em down with the rest of us.'

Personally, I think the preceding isn't evidence of Clinton's supposed win-at-all-cost "ruthlessness", but rather reinforcement of the long-undeniable fact that Terry McAuliffe is an overstuffed douchebag. YMMV, of course. Now, if you all will excuse me, my (domestic) beer is getting warm.

Methinks the anti-Clinton can't let go of "Zimbabwe."

Let it go, people.

Let it go.

While I know it's fun for you folks to hate on Hill, focus on beating McCain, not Hill and Bill, or risk, at your own peril, of four more years of John McBush.

btfb: I'm fine with "letting go" of the Zimbabwe comment, as long as the "Hillary at any cost" crowd doesn't try and make it sound like it was some "innocent" comment. It was stupid and hateful on Clinton's part, and one more reason I'm glad she's not going to be the nominee.

As for beating McCain, I'm all for it, and think that Obama is off to a good start. He'd be doing better if a certain Senator didn't try to "steal" the news-cycles, but what can you do.

As for "drinking problems". Remember the "significance" of Obama preferring orange juice to coffee showing that he is not a "grown-up" (because changing from orange juice to coffee marks that transition).
Maybe the media avoids too obvious president-booze connections because of the alleged teetotaller and former drunkard/cokeist in the WH.

You're saying that she's encouraging the story about her encouraging the story?

no, of course not.

Jeff,

Obama needs to have his people start "floating" names for VP -- that's about the one thing I can think of that will focus the news almost entirely on him instead of poor Hill.

P.S. Jeff -- And what are you doing up at 3:31 am?

Are you an Insomniac, too?

"While I know it's fun for you folks to hate on Hill,"

Could you kindly specify the individuals you are addressing, rather than slurring "you folks" indiscriminately with indefensible mind-reading slurs?

Thanks.

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