Thursday, September 03, 2009

Who Was More Obsessed with Tea-Baggers?

E. J. Dionne argues that the mainstream media was obsessed with loud-mouthed teabaggers at the health care townhalls during August.

But what if our media-created impression of the meetings is wrong? What if the highly publicized screamers represented only a fraction of public opinion? What if most of the town halls were populated by citizens who respectfully but firmly expressed a mixture of support, concern and doubt?

There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television's point of view "boring") encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.

But it's hard to believe that CBS, NBC, and ABC were any more focused on townhall disruptions than HuffPost or TalkingPointsMemo. The progressive media might have had a different agenda in covering the townhall protesters, but progressive outlets were just as obsessed as the mainstream media.

More Like "Heck" than Hell

An Alternet headline screams that "Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire." I'd say Afghanistan is more like "heck" than hell right now.

Olympia Snowe: Most Important Woman in the World

According to Ezra Klein, the White House has decided to make a deal with Republican senator from Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. In effect, that makes Snowe has become the new health reform czar. Back in the 1920's, there was a saying that "as goes Maine, so goes the nation." Now, it's really true.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Pat Buchanan and the Facts of Conservative Life

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Poland and Hitler apologist Pat Buchanan is in full "Sympathy to Our Pal Adolf" mode. According to TPM:

According to Buchanan, Hitler's invasion of Poland -- which led to Britain's declaration of war on Germany, and the start of World War II -- was motivated merely by Germany's desire to regain the city of Danzig, which had been given to Poland in the Versailles Treaty. Had Poland simply negotiated with Hitler, war could have been averted. In fact, Hitler wasn't bent on world, or even European, domination. He would have been happy with just Danzig, Austria, and the Sudetenland, you see. Hitler "wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps." It was only thanks to the aggression of Britain, Russia, and the U.S. that the conflict was expanded. So, goes the implication, any deaths that occurred after 1940 -- including the 6 million that comprised the Holocaust -- are on the Allies' heads.
But Buchanan is just being an honest conservative here. Every conservative defense of tyranny, domination, cruelty, or oppression begins with the premise that the stronger party is provoked into aggression by their targets. That's true of wife-beating husbands and rapists. It was also the case with conservative justifications of slaveholders and segregationist lynch mobs. The Bush administration used the fact of Iraqi resistance as a justification for the destruction of Iraqi cities like Fallujah. The only thing that Pat Buchanan is doing here is extending a core conservative view to a previously taboo subject in the form of Adolf Hitler.

Otherwise, defending the cruelty of the stronger party is just a fact of conservative life.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Good News on the Book Proposal Front

Moving one step forward--I got a very favorable reaction from a series editor at a very good academic press. Now, I just have to avoid the two steps back thing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jenna Bush as Royalty

Glenn Greenwald criticizes NBC's selection of George W. Bush's daughter Jenna Bush Hager as a Today Show correspondent as an example of the media stockpiling "American royalty."

Greenwald points to plenty of other examples as well.
They should convene a panel for the next Meet the Press with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it. They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it's really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment.
He could have mentioned Maria Shriver and just about any Kennedy as examples of royalty on the Democratic side as well, although there's still the conundrum of why the Kennedy's are the only Democratic side accepted as American royalty.

Which brings us to Jenna Bush.

It's curious to me that NBC is bringing Jenna Bush on board as a royalty hire. Given that George W. Bush has just about as much clout after leaving office as Richard II, the hiring of his daughter has to be seen more as an act of "royalty defiance" than anything else.

For her sake, I hope Jenna Bush is better at being a reporter than dad was at being president.

Ted's Replacement?

Victoria Kennedy sounds almost as good for the Senate in Massachusetts as Caroline Kennedy sounded for the Senate in New York.