Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ugly out there

I understand Clinton supporters - of which I would have been one if John Edwards had dropped out of the race before I mailed my ballot - are upset by the rank sexism that much of the press corps showed during her campaign. Chris Matthews being one of the worst offenders but by no means the only one.

It's also true that the Obama campaign to some extent encouraged such talk. But mostly it was a matter of not rocking the boat when things are going your way. Clinton's campaign did the same with the hack media coverage on Jeremiah Wright. Politics is politics. The Presidency of the United States is literally the biggest political prize there is. People fight for it. The stakes are very high.

It's understandable given the Establishment media's treatment of Obama that some Clinton supporters may have had a hard time distinguishing between his press fans like Keith Olberman and the Obama campaign. (Especially when Obama's campaign mailed out copies of Olberman's anti-Hillary rant on the RFK business, which has made me leery of Olberman's whole approach to journalism.) But that favorable treatment is already shifting into the line Chris Matthews and David Brooks are using now about Obama-the-strange-guy that regular (white) folks find it hard to understand. It's basically the same line Tennessee Republicans used successfully against Harold Ford in 2006. They ran an ad with a flirty white woman, saying "Harold, call me." It ended with the tag line, "He's just not right." Rhymes with "He's just not white."

Whether Obama partisans during the primary wanted to recognize it or not, the Establishment press is just nuts about anything to do with the Clintons. With Obama in a one-to-one with Vile Hillary, the pundits fawned on Obama because he was the anti-Hillary. But we saw a glimpse of the campaign going forward from here during the Jeremiah Wright controversy, where the mostly white pundits furrowed their brows and worried profoundly over the deeply troubling implications of Obama's deeply troubling scary black pastor.

Now the rightwingers have a media hole that they're ready to drive a whole caravan of trucks through.

Dave Neiwert has a great post on How right-wing crap polluted Democrats' political waters 06/05/08. It's a very good reminder that even the most committed partisans need to remember what a badly dysfunctional media environment we have in the United States. Occasionally it works in the favor of Democrats. As the hackneyed old saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I thought of this today when I saw Josh Marshall's post, Weekend Entertainment Flashback 06/07/08 featuring a TPM video showing talking heads mostly on FOX News, in which they struggle to find anything nice to say about their man-crush McCain's speech this past Tuesday night. Marshall writes, "It's our most popular episode of TPMtv since we started the show in April 2007. And I've probably watched it myself maybe 30 times. John McCain gives a speech that's so awful it turns the Fox News commentators into honest men for one evening ..."

Now, there's nothing wrong in itself with enjoying the other side getting a hard time from the press. But the commentary in this video shows the awful habits of our "press corps". It's pack journalism; they all knew they had to say it was a bad performance. But listen to what they say. He stood in front of a green background. He sounded old. Obama gives better-sounding speeches.

Straight horse-race coverage, in other words. But on his key issue of the Iraq War, McCain also said in that speech that things are going peachy over there and accused Obama of wanting to "surrender". One of the main liberal criticisms of the Establishment press is just that, that they focus on the horse race and ignore issues. It would have been better journalism to prominently mention McCain's Iraq position in the speech. And from a partisan viewpoint, I want to see McCain's Iraq War position constantly discussed in election news. See if you hear the word "Iraq" in the TPM video.

If this seems like a bit different tone than my election posts to date, it's because I just went over to Larry Johnson's No Quarter blog, which I haven't checked in the last couple of weeks. He was definitely a Clinton partisan for the primaries. Johnson is a former CIA agent who's offered some very good reality-based commentary on war and terrorism issues. He was also in CIA training with Valerie Plame and had a lot of valuable commentary on her leak case.

But I was surprised to see him giving credence to a rumor about some video claiming to have Michelle Obama saying something bad about white people; so far as I've heard, it seems to be pure rumor based on some hack political novel. Johnson actually writes that he believes the rumored tape is real, not because he's seen it, but: "I have not spoken directly with the people who have seen the tape, but I have spoken to two of my friends who are friends with those who watched the tape/dvd." (An Update on the Michelle Obama Rant 06/07/08)

Friends of friends told him about it? Good grief! That is the classic sourcing statement that warns you that the story being told is an urban legend.

This is letting partisanship put your brain on hold. Even if some such tape exists, and again I've heard no actual evidence that it does, saying, I believe it because friends of friends told me so, is just plain silly.

That surprised me. This post from Uppity Woman at his blog gobsmacked me: Righteous Indignation Fully Described 06/07/08. It's worth quoting at some length, not because the content is worth anything, but because it's an example of how a "pro-Hillary" framing can be put around a White Citizens Council/John Birch Society attack on Obama, right down to the eccentric capitalizations. I'm going to bold some of the more inflammatory phrases. I'm sure we'll be hearing them from now until Election Day and beyond:

I have read quite a few articles of Outrage since the deliberately sexist press and revoltingly smarmy Chosen thug candidate have heretofore succeeded in the Doing In of Hillary Clinton and the ongoing insulting onslaught upon her nearly 18,000,000 supporters that the party someone thinks they can win an election without. But nothing I have read describes the thoughts we harbor as well as Savage in his piece, Righteous Indignation. [It's another pro-McCain hate rant, which her post reproduces in full.]

As the threats and the insults continue, we are getting a glimpse of the intent to subjugate America’s blue collar workers, Senior Citizens, Jews, Latinos, White Women, and other groups that are no longer "of use" to the intended Marxist society. Donna Brazile proclaimed on National Television that the Democratic Party doesn’t need these voters any longer and they "can all stay home". I am sure that is what she would like us all to do, but it is not what were are going to do. All the more reason to make certain that everyone who has been insulted, threatened or demeaned by the horror show we have witnessed in this Primary Fix votes against Barack Obama on November 4.

Much like the fear generated by the McGovern and Dukakis maniacs, only with the internet as a stark, recordable addition, the deliberate provocation of anyone who does not support Barack Obama is a good thing in the end. It ensures that the Incensed do not stay home on Election Day as Donna Brazile wishes. Being incensed, harassed and in fear always results in a healthy resistance vote.

In November, there will be no caucuses with busloads of threatening college kids terrorizing the opposition and deciding what the numbers will be. There will be no threats at the polls. Nobody will be able to stand next to you while you vote. There will be no taunting and fear. And vote you will. Just like the last times the whackjob fringe of the Democratic Party tried to threaten Americans into submission and chaos. I am grateful I have seen this play out before, because it confirms my resolve that the answer to Marxism in America will always be NO.

We can expect more harassment, insults and threats, and worse, once Hillary is forced to give her speech of "support" for Barack Obama today, for these are truly malicious followers. But in his typical delusionary Narcissist manner, Barack Obama imagines we will all fall into place. He imagines that women, for example, or Jews, or Latinos, or The Elderly do not recognize dangers to their freedom when they see it. Very well. (my emphasis)
It's ugly out there already. And it's only June.

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