Monday, March 17, 2008

I Watch The McLaughlin Group

And if you watch Washington Week in Review (or unInformed Sources), I laugh at your snide thoughts. Few shows of that sort are particularly informative, at least McLaughlin provides a reasonably entertaining look into the current Washington zeitgeist. After watching last Friday's show, all I can say is, I told you so:
MS. CROWLEY: But the Ferraro blowup points to something else, which is that it is also true that Barack Obama has been protected from the criticism that would normally come at a presidential candidate --

MR. PAGE: This is protection?

MS. CROWLEY: -- because people are afraid of being attacked the way Geraldine Ferraro was attacked.

MR. PAGE: I think that's overblown. I think that is overblown.

MR. BUCHANAN: And let me add to that, John.

MR. PAGE: That's what I call -- that's not playing white guilt. That's playing white rage, because a lot of angry whites out there say, "Well, I can't even talk straight about race without being beat up."


MR. BUCHANAN: What's coming, John, is blow-back. And I'll tell you what the blow-back --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Blow-back against --

MR. BUCHANAN: Against Barack Obama for this.

I watch the show fairly regularly, and that's the first time that I can recall Monica Crowley directing her fire at Obama. Until now, she had used her speaking time to attack Clinton, although she did label those "normal criticisms" directed at Obama "ruthless" rather than "racist." Also, I don't think that Clarence Page has any idea what percentage of white Americans would say that they've been unfairly accused of racism at some point in their lives. I wouldn't speculate on either the percentage that would say that, or the percentage who would be correct. The second point is irrelevant as this an election, not a classroom discussion. Unfortunately, dismissing such people as "angry whites" is a sure fire way to ratchet up the angry white vote. There's no excuse for some of Ferraro's statements, although it's absurd to assert that she used an interview with a backwater newspaper as a forum to blow a "dog-whistle." However, we've also heard racist in connection to the term "fairy tale," Obama's admitted drug use and a non-existent job offer*. If Obama gets the nomination, the really racist innuendos will start to kick in around Labor Day, but the cry of racism will have been worked to death before the Democratic Convention -- Buchanan will see his "blow-back."

If you ask me, Will Bunch and Keith Olbermann might as well be on the RNC payroll.

BTW, there is another reason why I watch McLaughlin; every so often, McLaughlin will say something that makes me imagine the possibly tortured conscience of a former priest turned Republican Party insider. It doesn't happen often, but you have to wonder when you hear things like:
Most underrated: Corruption in America. We've seen it on the corporate level, Enron, and on the political level, Abramoff. But this is the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, corruption in America is ingrained in almost every aspect of our lives.

Unfortunately, the link no longer works**; the quote was from a late December airing.

*On that point, I can only ask, are you f***ing kidding me? To remove race and gender from the equation, imagine a nomination contest between Dodd and Edwards. If one responded to a question about a combined ticket by saying that he'd love to have the as his running mate, and the other responded that it was too early to discuss the matter, which do you think would get the better media reaction?

**new link.

I watch McLaughlin and Deformed Sources every week. Menckles says I'm watching my "stories"

My father and I used to call McLaughlin "the answer show" because at the end of every topic, John steps in to tell us all "The answer is...."

Also I think Pat Buchanan is one of the more astute observers of the political scene even if he is an asshole.
Pat Buch is astute, when he's not being crazy.

Buchanan thought that Obama was doomed after SC because he would be viewed as the "black" candidate, and he wouldn't be able to get white votes.

Obama is an abnormal candidate. He's black, and he's trying to win the presidency in a country that is uncomfortable talking about issues involving race. The basic vocabulary in which "race" is discussed is hopelessly clumsy, and prone to fanning flames rather than extinguishing them.

So, yes, Obama will be treated differently and more carefully because he's black and there's a ton of subterranean issues that the nation has decided not to deal with in a mature, forthright manner.

The damning thing about Ferraro is that she said pretty much the same thing about Jesse Jackson. Then she went all over Fox to "defend" herself from criticism (much of which I thought was totally justified).

I grant you the fear about the "blowback", but I side with Page, and think it's overblown. The risks are on the other side of this issue in the general election, because, at some point in the GE campaign between Mac and O, some conservative surrogate will overreach in a way that makes Ferraro's comments look like a love poem.

One other thing: that Veep talk was extremely insidious (certainly not racist), and Obama recognized that he needed to shut that political maneuver down immediately.

Here's the real story that the Washington zeitgeist should be talking about:

1) How incredibly fortunate that the Rev Wright brouhaha "broke" on a Friday, during a holiday weekend of market turmoil, 5 weeks before the next primary.

Now Obama can give a speech about race and transcend, or heal or denounce or whatever the hell he had planned (I haven't read it yet). That was incredibly good timing for a potentially explosive issue. I'll grant that if the Wright controversy blew up in a GE campaign after Obama's surrogates lambasted Mac for being racist, then that could've ignited the blowback that would re-elect another Republican.

2) the very real and obvious conspiracy between Hillary, McCain and other elements of the "right wing" media, who have temporarily allied with one another, and who have coordinated with one another, in order to sink Obama.
I wonder whether Michelle Obama will not cause Barack more problems down the road.

She comes across as a conventional African American Politician and her political sense is not nearly as finely honed as his. Her message does not sound nearly so transcendental as his.

I wonder if she will create echoes of Rev. Wright throughout the campaign.
Well Oyster, I see you know the rules.

Veep talk insidious? Hillary came up with the cooler response to a stupid, if obligatory, question , Obama realized that and came up with his own dog whistles -- "bamboozled" "hoodwinked."

I have no idea what you're talking about in number 2. The people I quoted have done a lot more Clinton bashing than Obama bashing. It seems to me that Obama has cynically exploited MSM willingness to believe the worst about THECLINTONS from the opening bell. I'm not shocked by that, but I'm also not going to put on the rose colored glasses for a politician who plays to win.

At any rate, Buchanan, who you both agree is astute, sees the same thing that I saw in January. By using the racism charge so much now, Obama supporters are increasing the chances that it will backfire in the Fall.

Your point no. 1 seems to imply the exact opposite of Ezra Klein said Friday. I notice that the wuss still hasn't responded to the chorus of comments that some others and I made.
Also the Wright flap obviously isn't over with. It will be re-launched during the General... possibly even on a Monday.
Also Oyster, that link about the Veep "offer" was to an article in a conservative magazine written by a Howard University professor who's involved with the Edmund Burke Institute (which I can only assume is conservative). I tried to be tactful, but the idea that it's Clinton allying with the right wing media strikes me as one-sided, at best.
Thought you might find some fun in this
"Buchanan, who you both agree is astute, sees the same thing that I saw in January. By using the racism charge so much now, Obama supporters are increasing the chances that it will backfire in the Fall."

And his political analysis was WRONG about how that would play out in the primaries, and his predictions about how it will play out in the GE are likely WRONG as well.

Don't get me started on some of the shallow, extremist political commentary about Hillary and Obama at Corrente.

The central point about all this "rules" brouhaha, in my view, is that any candidate who is opposed to Hillary-- be it a Dem or a Goop-- would have enjoyed the massive "RULES" advantage against her. It was inevitable. Expecting someone to prevail over Hillary without benefit of the rules, is fantasy. To heroically go out of one's way NOT to take advantage of them would be almost political campaign malpractice. That's how grotesquely pervasive they are, that's how far they've infected media/political narratives. If, say, Edwards had won Iowa and eliminated Obama, he wouldn't have prevailed over Hillary without benefit of some version of "The Rules". Obama could have pushed the medias narratives on Hillary much harder than he has, in fact (although that's hardly necessary).

Is it "fair" to Hillary? Of course not.

The question in my mind is why Dems would want to suffer at such a punishing media disadvantage for the next 4 to 8 years by electing Hillary? And that's the best case scenario.

I guess I'll have to make my case for #2 via media reports. (But I do also have high level campaign sources that I can't risk burning on this one.)

But, at least to my eyes, it seems rather obvious what subterranean alliances have formed among the top three candidates after Mac (virtually) secured the nomination. In blunt terms, Mac and Hill both want Hillary to be the nominee.
"And his political analysis was WRONG about how that would play out in the primaries..."

Again, i don't know what you're talking about. Last Friday was the first I heard the conservatives go after Obama rather than Clinton -- I never heard Buchanan call Obama on that previously. The "blowback" does seem to be happening in Pa., although Clinton's widening lead certainly has more to with Jeremiah Wright.

No, I don't expect Obama to forgo advantages, but I will call swift boating when I see it, especially when I think overplaying a hand in the primaries will hurt Obama in the GE.

I still think that Obama is the better candidate because the media hates TheClintons, but I have my doubts about how Obama will do when he goes up against an even bigger media darling. At any rate, since I'm not in a position to influence the election, I'll call Obama's bs when I see it. I should say the bs of Obama supporters, especially in the MSM and in the blogosphere, but face it, Obama was a lot more coy about whether Clinton was race-baiting than Clinton was about Obama being a Muslim -- despite what Bill Bradley said Sunday. And the coyness precedes the Jesse Jackson comment.

"I guess I'll have to make my case for #2 via media reports. (But I do also have high level campaign sources that I can't risk burning on this one.)"

Whatever, first responders and medical personnel often spread urban legends, people close to the story often only see part of the story, etc. I don't mean to be too dismissive, but, five years ago, I had a liberal, anti-invasion coworker whose cousin worked for the CIA or DoD or something and had it on good authority that there was an al-Qaida connection. Two and a half years ago, my sister-in-law heard false hepatitis in the water stories when she went to an emergency room right after Katrina.

BTW, the "not in a position to influence" line would be, IMO, a cop out in local matters, because I'm pretty sure local bloggers can have some effect there.
"I never heard Buchanan call Obama on that previously."

On MSNBC, during the S.C. primary coverage, Buchanan outlined the whole "angry white blowback" scenario that would doom Obama. He did it multiple times, at length, over the span of several hours, and described in great detail how SC would be a pyrrhic victory.

During the VA/MD primary coverage, as Obama took the white vote in the exit polls, the MSNBC hosts had a lot of fun with Buchanan referring to his oft-repeated "white blowback" theory.

Buchanan and Shelby Steele have continually been warning how Obama is fatally "boxed in", when, until, recently, Obama was the one boxing in Hillary.
I stand corrected, I can't stand MSNBC for long periods of time anymore -- that includes Keith Olbermann. However, I suspect there might have been blowback had there been honest coverage of Clinton's South Carolina statement. I had planned on posting about what I heard Nancy Giles say on Hardball Monday night, but Daily Howler beat me to it -- damn you, Somerby! Can you imagine those kind of statement about McCain going unchallenged? I also thought of "Cult of the Amateur" and noticed that none of the professionals corrected the amateur guest. Of course, none of the pros looked up past S.C. primary results to see who Clinton could have used to downplay that primary.

Back to the point at hand, I hope I'm wrong, but I can't imagine the "race card" bullshit working against St. McCain unless it's not bullshit -- Ferraro not "fairy tale." I'm not advocating a position, but in January I did hear talk of the "always crying prejudice" variety, enough to surprise me. Obaama supporters seemed to have no inkling of the fact that racism is a charge that loses its effectiveness if made too often. Their Clinton-hating enablers in the MSM were more than happy to let them overplay that hand in the primaries. Even if he had his timing wrong, I'm surprised that Buchanan pointed out the dangers of that tactic so early. He may just be smart enough to know that he'll have more credibility in the GE if he lays the groundwork now.

Obama gave a good speech, but I'll be curious to see if people like Olbermann heard the part about looking for race-baiting in everything Clinton says..
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