Bruce Lipsky/Florida Times-Union
Apparently his handlers cut off the left flipper so he could wear one of those Purple Heart band-aids on it.
Jim Rutenberg, "Flip-Flopery: Said That vs. Meant This, a Hot Matchup for ’08." New York Times, November 4
Maureen Dowd, "Gift of Gall" New York Times, November 4
Frank Rich, "Noun + Verb + 9/11 + Iran = Democrats’ Defeat?" New York Times, November 4
Adam Nagourney and Patrick Healy, "Different Rules When A Rival Is A Woman?" New York Times, November 5
HERE'S the deal: it is past time, now, to acknowledge that our public press, writ large, is a collection of shameless careerists and liars of the Pathological class, or else we stop, once and for all, making fun of those labels that warn consumers not to point burning propane torches toward the face or operate that new bagel toaster while immersed in the morning bath. It's one or the other. These people cannot believe what they say, or we cannot believe they all survived their introductions to pointy-ended scissors.
This is Day 7 of the Hillary Gang-Bang. Why? I'm sure there have been other, comparable stories to have come out of either party's incontinent stream of debate infomercials, and if so I'm sorry to have slept through them. It's even possible that one or two may have involved substantive issues, however marginally. Had any of them received a week's worth of chatter--and counting--I'm guessing it might have penetrated my force field of indifference. Have I missed something? Even the twin concerns of Haircutgate and the Whitewater cleavage scandal--high on every American's list of dangerous river spans along our political turnpike--didn't last the weekend.
Let's begin with Rutenberg's "think piece" on flip-flopping, which happens to show up this weekend (in fairness, it gives every evidence of months of exhaustive research):
Last week, it was Senator Hillary Clinton’s turn. Under questioning from Tim Russert of NBC News in a debate Tuesday, she acknowledged saying recently that a proposal by Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York to give illegal immigrants driver licenses “makes a lot of sense,” but that, in fact, “I did not say it should be done.” On Wednesday, her campaign said she supported the idea.
I have several answers to this, but seeing that all of them involve some variation on the You're A Fucking Moron theme, I will ask the reader, if any: have you ever said or thought something like this? "It makes a lot of sense to buy that new car," or "snap up that undervalued stock," or "get that $400 haircut," but at one and the same time you felt the timing was not right because your bank account was challenged or your portfolio unbalanced or those damn teenagers were sure to put your preening ass on YouTube? Would you, in fact, trust a business association with someone whose answer to each and every complex situation was to damn the torpedos and give you a poodle cut?
Okay, okay, the next day the campaign said she supported the idea. If this is a flop, where's the flip? You buy the car or not, you get the haircut or you sit on a kitchen chair while your spouse has at it with the dog shears. Have you never supported something you were equivocal about? I have in every Presidential election since 1976. She clarified her position not in response to the flip, or the flop, but to the flap. Is that something less than 100% consistency? Probably. Is that a standard we wish to enforce in each and every situation, however trivial? You're a Fucking Moron.
In case I need to remind anyone, I'm not exactly campaigning for Senator Clinton. And I'm getting pretty tired of having to defend her. But let's note here that some greater damage to the body politic is at work beyond the sliming of all things Clinton/Gore, constantly and in perpetuity, whatever degree of waterboarding the Truth is required. The question is a technical one. It has little or no relevance to "Illegal Immigration" as a Presidential campaign issue. It's a New York State matter. But because it has a "gotcha" quotient it is wielded as if Eliot Spitzer, and he alone, holds the key to our impending doom. The question may be fair, in the sense of "all's fair" or the sense that it's "fair" to ask Mitt about Utah's enforcement of polygamy laws, but it's guaranteed to be understood as weighing more than it does. See Bob Somerby on the questioning from the tragedy team of Russert and Williams, versus the questioning of Bush's challengers in 2000.
Before we head to more heavily manured pastures let's note, for the record, that John Kerry did not flip-flop on Iraq; he voted for the war resolution, and he later opposed the war. Isn't it obvious those are two different things? His vote on the resolution was wrong, and obviously so by 2004; would that more of our nation's elected officials had been willing to admit it. It may very well have been a political calculation. But that isn't what he was criticized for. Republicans did the Flipper dance, and the punditocracy did its best to learn the steps, but Kerry wasn't inconsistent on the war. Meanwhile back at the party where the act of flipflopping was such an enormity three years ago, the two leading candidates are running campaigns either based on little else or based on the notion that present-day massaging solves the problem. The guy in the dolphin suit is nowhere to be found, but no one's questioning his consistency.
I spent some time last week gleaning the October MoDo archives for her first mention of Hillary per column. The piece wasn't working out, and I tossed the research, but I was within one column of the end of the month and I'd found to that point precisely one (1) column that didn't mention Hillary at all, and I think that one was her drunkblogging live from Clarence Thomas' thought processes. By that point the word "Hillary" appeared as the 47th word in an average column, and that includes the other one--it was either about Rudy or about herself--where I thought "Hillary" was home free only to have her turn up on the second page as word 857. And that's not counting times like Sunday when she starts off [at word one (1)] by referring to the junior Senator from New York as Girlfriend. (Her unnamed supporters appear as Hillaryland and Hillville. As with the incessant downpour of W.s every time she writes about Bush, we ask: is there no one at the Times who can edit her? Or buy her some adult protective undergarments?)
Dowd's columns have been a veritable waterfall of urea's hot and sibilant torrents for months now, demanding that Barack Obama ("Senator Smooth Jazz") get tough with "Hillzilla"; now that her companions in fatuousness over at NBC have thoughtfully provided the context (though, sadly, the real engine was John "Breck Girl" Edwards), Mo is on to the planned meta-response: the denizens of "Hillville" are crying it's no fair to gang up on a girl, therefore "Senator Pothole" is not really a feminist. This, despite the fact that "Senator Code Pink Pinko" expressly said she'd been gang-tackled not because she was a woman but because she was the front-runner. This is the problem with healthcare in this country: most people have to shell out enormous sums by the hour to work out their personal problems with mental-health professionals, while a fortunate few actually get paid to do the same thing on the Times' Op-Ed pages.
The ever-reliable Adam Nagourney turns up on Day Two to put the facts behind the opinion. Geraldine Ferraro says the attacks on Senator Clinton would never had be unleashed on Senator Obama, because that would be racist, which is not permitted, while sexism is okay.
Once again we have several responses, the first of which is What Kind of Fucking Moron Thinks We're Such Fucking Morons? And the second is Who Got Sent Into What Sub-Basement To Look For Geraldine Ferraro's Number, And How Long Did It Take?
As much as I wish Ms Ferraro had responded, "Fuck you, Nagourney, you fucking asshole," she absolutely has a point, and it might make an interesting discussion if it were taken seriously and not rewritten by Adam Nagourney. Sexism didn't suddenly rear its head last Tuesday night, and to suggest that Ferraro is trying to provide Hillary Clinton with some protective coloration is flat fucking absurd. I'd like to see Nagourney try to endure in a lifetime the sort of shit that's been thrown at Clinton on a daily basis for the last fifteen years. One reason she's got that commanding lead is that over a series of months she's shown she can outpunch Edwards and Obama ("The Comely Twins").
Two more things. Frank Rich may not have devoted an entire column to this nonsense, but he did say of Clinton's defense of her Kyl-Lieberman vote:
Much like her now notorious effort to fudge her stand on Eliot Spitzer’s driver’s license program for illegal immigrants, this is a profile in vacillation. And this time Mrs. Clinton’s straddling stood out as it didn’t in 2002. That’s not because she was the only woman on stage but because she is the only Democratic candidate who has not said a firm no to Bush policy.
Y'know, I like to imagine that I, indolent headline reader, have some appreciation of, if not appreciation for, Senator Clinton's stance on Iraq, Iran, and whatever other little brown people make the list. I'm not willing to say she's the lone Democrat who isn't "saying what they really believe rather than trying to play both sides against the middle" (but Rich is). I may believe the troops never should have gone, or, failing that, should have been brought home years ago; that does not mean I think every candidate refusing to pledge to bring them home by a date specified by Tim Russert is politicking or lying. And if I do want to gauge who's being honest I'm not going to ask any savvy Times columnists who did their best to see to it that the idiot in the Oval Office got there in 2000.
The last thing is this: shame on John Fucking Haircut Edwards. Shame on everybody else for not telling Russert and Williams to get fucking serious or get off the fucking stage. That's the real problem, not whether our candidates have a favorite Bible verse, and it's well past time for someone to say so. Or, preferably, a gang.