• Olbermann, on the other hand, seemed chastened. He was definitely subdued, and when he repeated the particulars of his Monday night assault on Hillary he fired ping-pong balls instead of grapeshot. It's not enough, Keith. The press performance over last weekend was abominable. The question isn't Why the Polls Were Wrong. It's why everyone used the polls to stomp Senator Clinton, and we already know the answer. And it's not as if anyone who's been paying attention should have been caught unaware, but you lent your own voice to it. You've railed at FAUX while ignoring Imus, Scarborough, and Rita Cosby, not to mention cooperating with Matthews and Russert, who are a bigger part of the decade-long disaster than O'Reilly, Gibson, and Hannity combined. You are now the network star, and it's time you either demanded some integrity for your own show or checked ESPN for renewed interest. I suppose Timmy the Wonder Pig is inevitable; like a slacker fast-food employee NBC must make up for his lack of productiveness by making him work several extra shifts. That's a different matter from letting him come on your show to pretend he wasn't involved with Scooter Libby. Chris Matthews--it doesn't matter whether he's viewed by 20 people or 20,000--is a vain, vapid little slimeball whose program is a nightly billboard for what's wrong with political coverage. Call him out, this time before he exits, unlike Imus. Get him off the dais; put him at the kids' table. The lying is the problem, Keith. The lying, not the odds, is why everybody's been so wrong so inevitably. It's simply not possible to have learned nothing from the Bush administration.
• And add to that Andrea Mitchell. Just hit Delete. In the generalized merriment yesterday I sorta failed to notice that that "Every candidate is going to spin this as a Win" routine was specifically crafted to go after Hillary and was written ahead of time, when it looked like she'd lose, out of fear she might not lose by enough (not to mention it's a fucking commonplace which would then have been held up as an example of Insider Prescience). As I said yesterday, it's enough to note that "reporters" had been spinning twenty times harder than they were ever going to let any candidate do--and, of course, any claim Hillary made about "doing better than expected" or "winning an equal number of delegates" would have been greeted with more sneering and snorting and somebody's observation of how calculated she seemed. Unless she happened to be doing anything with her face other than the Pageant Smile, in which case they would have talked about her weeping into her cleavage. At any rate, Mitchell is a nasty little attack poodle, and it's time to break out the needle.
• The goddam internets exist. It is no long sufficient to be halfway informed about what was in the Times this morning. In fact that's how to be semi-misinformed, a point which cannot possibly be lost on the rest of the Press gang. Chris Matthews had never heard of TPM. It's like a clerk at Best Buys who's never heard of mp3s. The man is paid a king's ransom to blather about politics. TPM is a Beltway-insider bloglomerate, not some crackpot Hoosier with a free site and a propensity for the word "motherfucker".
• Gail Collins, associate tree-killer, Times Crime Family: "Clinton actually seems most genuine when she’s being dull. She’s gone back to talking about policy with voters. That’s just the way she saved her first Senate campaign by disappearing into the depths of upstate New York for an endless listening tour that drove reporters mad with tedium but seemed to make the citizens very happy."
Although I must say that, in contrast to MoDo yesterday, this time we get our confirmation of the political Press' utter contempt for its readership, and its secret desire to cover the Hollywood scandal beat, from someone who is not actively hallucinating as she types. But once again: it is simply not possible that they don't get it. Yet they do it anyway. Just as every cop is a criminal.
• Melissa McEwan at Shakesville points out that Obama has a little more 'splain' to do. Which points out a related matter in all this: the man has been getting a Pass MoDo would have been embarrassed to throw at him, if she were capable of embarrassment.
He's good, y'know, really good. But he's been encouraged to do precisely the wrong things at the wrong time: attack (Hiya, Mo!) when he should have remained patient, believe his own press, and, above all, let on he'll use a rapier to clear a forest. And for good or ill, or both, this is what campaigns are mostly about: timing. If he intends to be taken seriously for that transcending petty politics stuff he needs to come out an denounce the nastiness going on around him, especially coming from his own campaign, and then stop trying to be subtle when he dishes any out. This was always the inherent problem with the Bus to Cloudland routine. There were a lot of people yesterday bemoaning the fact that their dreams of the campaign being over had been dashed. Those were nightmares, kids. You need to learn to tell the difference, and your man needs considerably more seasoning. Sometime I'll list the attractive candidates I've fallen for since 1972. Meanwhile, here's a hint: George McGovern was the most successful of the lot.
• Goes double for John Edwards. The man is swimming through Jell-O; he's perpetually a lap down. He gangs up on Hillary, which was not only politically tone-deaf but also the single most divisive act of the Democratic campaign. Yes, it's an old saw, but nonetheless true: do not take advice from a demented political commentator who calls you The Breck Girl! Then he doubles-down in New Hampshire when he should have figured out that he was helping Obama, rather than himself, even if he couldn't figure out it was ethically wrong.
Edwards seems at some point, early in the campaign (meaning 2006, I think), to have imagined that he was the accomplished studio musician who was being shoved aside for the babelicious (my spell checker accepted that!) but off-key singer who was fucking the producer. But Obama has done far better with his gifts, and Edwards, the only real Change candidate (and don't make me say that again) among the Top Three has been hittin' clams every night. Yes, it's impossible in the modern campaign to avoid profession strategists, image consultants, and other such riff-raff; maybe the idea is to throw the I Ching every so often while you're at it.
• Final, gratuitous shots at Obamalotus Consumption. Gary Kamiya:
Obama's Iowa victory was one of those rare moments when an abstraction becomes real. In "Areopagitica," John Milton wrote, "Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks." In Iowa, we witnessed the shaking of those locks. Like one of those miraculous reversals in one of Shakespeare's late plays, when a statue suddenly comes to life after standing motionless for years, Obama's victory seemed almost otherworldly -- as if the laws of space and time had been suspended, and a quality as evanescent and fragile as hope had suddenly become real. I am not a religious person, but it was hard not to feel that his triumph vindicated the essence of what I think of as the secular essence of religion, something even nonbelievers can believe in: the possibility of inner transformation. A transformation at once personal, and national.
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
Fess up. Are you guys actually paid Clinton agents?
• Finally, and we mean finally: Fred Thompson. A new generation has now learned that musk hangs around long, long after you wished you'd never bought it. Any fool could have seen that Run Fred Run (The Next Reagan!) was not the result of acute political analysis but the desperate gurgling of a constituency already defeated. That Thompson took it, and