Thursday, March 10

Why Is There A David Weigel? Part IX

David Weigel, "Newt Gingrich Loves America and Leads With His Chin". March 10

OKAY, so, evidently the whole Librul Media/Fairness for "Conservative" Viewpoints routine of the last forty years comes down to the requirement, not that the mass market media treat the Right with fairness, respect, or equality, but slack and slack-jawed credulity:
Count me among the very, very few people -- like, the we-can-fit-in-the-same-Volvo number of people -- who doesn't find this Newt Gingrich answer to David Brody totally risible.

Surely you exaggerate, Mr. Weigel. I mean, I think even the smallest Volvo seats four.

To understand this, you need to understand Kenyan anti-colonial thinking what John Dickerson pointed out on Monday. Gingrich is embracing his biggest problem with both hands. He said this in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network; he knew both his immediate audience and his potential audience. (David Brody and the Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson, because they don't actually try to nail their subjects, always get the most/damaging revealing quotes from 2012ers.)

Rrrrright. First, love the Kenyan anti-colonial thinking gag, as though that reduces the Republicans' massive crackpot problem to a cocktail-party bon mot. It's a great technique, all right; look how it eliminated all the evidence of racism racists in the party. Now, then: the gentlemen of The Christian Broadcasting Network and The National Review refrain from asking tough questions during their hagiographies because that gets their subjects to reveal really telling details? As when Newt Gingrich explains serial adultery and terminal spouse abuse by blaming it on his work load. Or when Mitch Daniels, who polls just slightly higher than Louis Farrakhan with Republican religious voters, says he'll deemphasize the culture war if he's elected President, right up to the time when he has to name an Attorney General. Where would our current national debate be without these remarkable revelations? For one thing, our pundits would have to waste time reading more than headlines at Politico.
But he's not credible-sounding when he gets all gooey about religion.

Jesus, that's like saying, "You know, the AMC Pacer is not a really attractive car viewed from the front." It's a helluva lot quicker to just name the times when Newt is "credible-sounding". Though it may take you like forever to find one.
So he talked about his divorces (blandly, without the ugly details) in the context that ambitious Christians can understand. He used to prioritize his work over his relationship with family and God, and now he doesn't.*

[Footnote in original] See, in what used to pass for common sense, that was called "avoiding the question", not "unintentionally revealing yourself". I'm not sure how anyone other than a Republican shill can see it otherwise, and I'm not sure how they can claim to do so without trying to cut their throats while shaving tomorrow morning.
I guess you could argue that the "Newt Sez He Cheated Because He Loves America" soundbite will haunt him anyway

Yeah, I guess you could. Seems so unfair, though.
but really, has coverage of Gingrich up to this point come with the assumption that he can actually be elected president?

So let the shit fly, Newt! Someone's bound to mistake it for bouquets.
* I'm not saying this was pure brilliance!

You're a hard-nosed realist, then?
At least part of Gingrich's problem right now is that he's spent the last decade on the softball circuit at Fox News, and he and other potential 2012ers who've been catering to conservative media are struggling a bit as they realize that Media Matters can hear that stuff, too.

For mother-fucking cryin' out loud, the Right's been talking to itself, and only itself, for the past forty years at least. I don't recall Newt Gingrich speaking to me, or answering tough questions posed by The Left, or actually doing much besides talking to himself, before or since FOX News. There was that Contract With America deal, but I think if you're attuned to more than your own opinion you don't offer up contracts with 80% of the items dead on arrival. There was his leadership in the Jim Wright thing, followed by the equally surprising Newt Gingrich Did The Exact Same Thing But Refused To Resign thing, which didn't seem to acknowledge my viewpoint either time. There was the Bring Back Federal Orphanages plan; I don't recall that getting a lot of bipartisan support. There was the fact that he could be considered a "Futurist" in Republican circles because he knew what a laptop was. I suppose that at some point in my advancing years I may fall off a ladder, hit my head, and turn to him to learn what would have happened if that collection of deported criminals and microcephalics he calls his Heritage actually won the Civil War, but for now "more slavery" is sufficient for my purposes.

And there's his twenty-year silence on the yawning discrepancy between Republican "Christian" "Morality" and the fact that his own personal behavior could make a tom cat blanch. And now he breaks it, just as his wholly fucking delusional Presidential Campaign Contribution Drive gets underway, by serving a big steaming pile of shits n' grits to an easily satisfied audience. Be honest now, Mr. Weigel. Did you ever imagine a Volvo could be so roomy?


Unknown said...

He used to prioritize his work over his relationship with family and God, and now he doesn't.* [footnote in the original]

Wait. I'm confused. This, for me, somewhat connotes that his marriages failed because, with his workload and his "passion," he was unable to spend the requisite time (spiritually and sexually) to save them. But he did have time to have adulterous affairs?

How does that work?

Kathy said...

Of course Newt loves America! It's made him a wealthy celebrity, even though he's a slimy, lying, adulterous, ignorant jackass, and ugly to boot!

And if he can impress the Wall Street/Health Insurance Corps/Corporoate Media complex enough They may even make him President.

Jim said...

Well, I'm sure we could call a church-goer who has sex for money an "ambitious Christian" instead of a filthy whore, but only if he or she attends services regularly.

We wouldn't want to prioritize work over God now, would we?

Unknown said...

Calling Rev. Calvin.

mds said...

"... he knew both his immediate audience and his potential audience."

See, to me, the fact that he's thereby able to bullshit them isn't actually incommensurate with "totally risible."

Though to be fair, I'm not sure if he's actually good at it. The ol' standby "Not perfect, just forgiven" act excuses every manner of subsequent vicious sociopathy for the talibornagain. "I divorced my first wife when she was in the hospital for cancer treatment, and divorced my second wife after I was already banging an aide, only because I loved my job and country so much" doesn't actually fit the usual fake conversion horseshit gobbled down by the theocrats. It's more like a thinly-veiled proactive excuse for future behavior if elected again to a big country-lovin' job.

Anonymous said...

He used to prioritize his work over his relationship with family and God, and now he doesn't.* [footnote in the original]

So he decided to swap those priorities just before running for president? Because, IMO, running for / being president is a pretty awesome excuse, and he's still doing it wrong.

Kevin said...

I don't know, I really don't see much problem with Weigel's piece here. I mean, did you expect him to be super-duper insightful or point out every flaw? If you want that, go to someone who actually *does* that. Weigel simply covers the conservative movement, and fairly well and with a bit of snark. I actually enjoy most of his work and it's nice to look into how the other side works. It could be a hell of a lot worse. He's not exactly Fox News material. I don't ever remember him being dishonest or even remotely evasive. I'm just not sure what the point of this was. That Weigel isn't perfect? Idunno, I usually enjoy your work, but I found this kind of pointless.

bjkeefe said...

Whoa. Mr. Riley embeds a YouTube video! Must be royally pissed this time.


Okay, reading now ...

bjkeefe said...

@Kevin: You give an impression of familiarity with Weigel's work. I will agree with you on two of your points: I think his snark is good (particularly on Twitter, and Journolist), and yes, it is useful to have some coverage of "the other side" from someone who tries to do it as a straight-up reporter.

I disagree with you about the sum and substance of his coverage, though. To call him dishonest would be too strong, but I would say that at least since he started his WaPo gig, he has frequently annoyed me with his spinal flexibility when it comes to putting a patina of plausibility on what we in the reality-based community would call full metal wingnuttery.

This is aggravated by his eagerness to take a much more critical attitude towards "liberals" every chance he gets.

I don't know if you watch Weigel on, but there in particular, he is irritating as hell in these regards, especially since he's usually paired with someone from the far right, and is expected to be playing the foil to that person.

Now, I can excuse some of this. If he wants to define his beat as "covering the conservatives," then I will grant him some leeway for the sake of preserving access. This is a perennial problem for any reporter, and there is no perfect answer. Until you have built such a commanding reputation that no one dares shut you out, you have to do some stroking and pull some punches from time to time.

I'll also give Weigel a bit of a pass for suffering from what many reporters in the MSM suffer from: an overly-developed sense of concern about letting one's "liberal bias" show.

But I won't excuse it all. He just goes too far. And this instance here is a perfect example -- there really is no reason on Earth why anyone should be trying to put a positive spin on anything about Newt Gingrich. He is, was, and will always be a disgrace. A truly honest reporter either says that, or at least chooses not to cover him at all. To do anything else is to be in the camp that Prof. Krugman summarized so brilliantly with his headline, "Shape of Earth: Views Differ."

M. Krebs said...

Weigel does what he gets paid to do. What that makes him is left to the reader to decide.

M. Krebs said...

Let me rephrase that last part: What that makes Weigel is left as an exercise for the reader.

Bill in OH said...

I think anonymous has it right. "I used to prioritize my job over my family and God, but I don't do that anymore," doesn't seem, prima facie, to be a very compelling argument for someone who wants to be elected president of the USA. A job which, by all appearances, seems to be quite demanding of one's time.

whetstone said...

In fairness to Weigel, I think one stupid self-trolling "contrarian" (trans "I will promise to turn lead into gold, and it won't work, but it'll get traffic") post per month is in the contract at Slate.

As for the adultery, I'm still waiting on someone to use the argument that many great presidents were adulterers, and Bush & Nixon were faithful.