It's not the celebrity coverage, mind you, although that "Another story my producers are making me cover" business is so unfunny I feel guilty for mentioning it, and I'd be glad to help whomever it is Michael Musto has pictures of get them back, gratis. What perturbs me most is the ginned-up Liberal Outrage. It doesn't happen all that often, because, well, because of something called the Bush Administration, reliable producers of real outrages on a regular basis. But some slow news nights you'll be laboring some Cheney soundbite like a starving dog works a bone, and to Dana Milbank or somebody, and I'll curse myself for having taped The Daily Show instead of waiting to watch the 8 o'clock rerun.
And then there's those Special Comments. You won wide acclaim in Left Blogostan for a couple last year, after which they started sprouting like sunflowers under the bird feeder, and all of them delivered in a sort of "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!" bullshit gravitas. Thankfully that particular surge was short-lived. But you took up your pen again last night in response to the new Iraq funding bill:
This is, in fact, a comment about… betrayal.
Few men or women elected in our history—whether executive or legislative, state or national—have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear:
Get us out of Iraq.
Yet after six months of preparation and execution—half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this:
The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president—if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history—who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats “give the troops their money”;
The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans....
I spoke yesterday about your colleague Brian Williams' breezy characterization of "Democratic defeat". I'm not so choleric about presenting it as a national defeat. It is, clearly, or rather it's the continuation of one. But I still stand behind what I said about the Democrats: they probably got everything they were going to from the hand they held. That's not to say they got everything out of it they could have. The 2006 elections, however one wishes to characterize their "historical import", did not put Democrats in control of the government, just the agenda of the House and Senate. Anyone who missed the point should have been clued in last January. The war was not going to be defunded in a flash.
That 70% of the population which is--now--opposed to the war hasn't translated into many Republican votes. Less than one-third public approval sure hasn't put an anti-war candidate at the top of the Republican polls. It's a cryin' shame that the abysmal facts on the ground haven't done the job that politics has not, but if honest deliberation ever becomes the norm in Washington, check for Rod Serling at the beginning of each segment.
I don't consider this a defense of Democrats. I'm only a Democrat by default. Or rather, I'm a McGovern Democrat, the guy they'd try to hide at the back of the Family Reunion photo except I never show up. I gave them a second chance--the Great Leap of Faith, Hunter S. called it--in '76, then watched them take their own President out and shoot him. Since then I've been hiding in remote monasteries, still saying the Mass in Latin. If you want betrayal, and you need someone beyond the Bush gang for some reason, check the 2002 Democrats who got maneuvered into the War Resolution vote weeks before the 2002 elections. Me, I'll take parliamentary competence over rhetorical pandering to my presumed position any day, and hope to see a time when they're put together.
But my real point, Keith, is this: you work in television. Like it or not--you said "not" after cashing checks for a year and a half--you were a cog in the All Clinton's Cock, All the Time bullshit, and your current show was hardly a clearinghouse for anti-war sentiment before the thing went obviously Southwards. You recently told us how you held your tongue about Imus until he was fired. Your lead in is Chris Fucking Matthews, and you were "forced" to fluff Tim Russert's brave testimony at the Libby trial without ever mentioning his previous complicity. Your show's stable of experts includes Dana Milbank, formerly TNR's Al Gore hitman, currently WaPo reporter where he's been co-responsible for such Great Moments in Journalism as the retyping of the anonymous White House Vandalism story and the Post's jaw-dropping tick-tock on Bush's "deep personal involvement" in the China spy-plane crisis. Then there's über-Clinton cocksniffer and volunteer Gore makeup consultant Howard Fineman. That's four betrayers of the public trust whose jobs don't depend on getting 534 megalomaniacs to agree with them. Do any of you, or your professions writ large, bear any responsibility for us being in this hole we now must try to dig ourselves out of? Are you planning on speaking out about it just as soon as MSNBC fires Matthews for the crap that comes out of his mouth, or when the deal with WaPo-Newsweek expires? Would you warn me ahead of time?